February 04, 2015

HPBA Responds to EPA's NSPS Rules for Wood Heaters

In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s publication of New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Wood Heaters, The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) has issued the following statement attributable to Jack Goldman, HPBA President & CEO.

Arlington, VA (February 4, 2015) - “The hearth products industry welcomes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to update standards for wood heaters. Standards for wood stoves and fireplace inserts (and some pellet stoves) were established in 1988 and have not been updated since.  We believe it is important to make our products even cleaner for our customers and the environment, and in many cases have already done so on our own.

“Our industry has invested more than five years and millions of dollars on research to work with the EPA, state regulators and others to update emissions standards for our products.  We want to ensure these new standards provide real-world health benefits to the public, are achievable by industry and that our products remain affordable to consumers.

“The newly published standards, known as New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), only apply to wood-burning appliances manufactured after a certain date (depending on the category of appliance).  These standards do not affect appliances already owned by consumers or already in the marketplace.  The rulemaking covers five categories of appliances including: wood stoves and air tight fireplace inserts; pellet stoves and inserts; wood-burning, warm air furnaces; hydronic heaters; and masonry heaters.

“Based on what we have heard from the Agency, we believe that EPA has addressed a number of our concerns with the initial proposal.  For example, we applaud EPA’s recognition of the critical need for transition relief for warm air furnaces.  While the devil is in the details, EPA appears to have allowed warm air furnace manufacturers time to develop and certify models to the new Step 1 standards.

“Conversely, we believe the agency missed the mark in other areas.  For example, some of the future standards proposed for wood-burning appliances do not meet the government’s duty to set standards based on data that shows both a tangible benefit to consumers and cost-effectiveness.  From what we have learned from EPA about the final rule, the new standards for cordwood performance are of particular concern, since the Agency appears to have acknowledged that there are no cordwood test methods yet for many appliance categories, much less data using such test methods.  Both are needed to set standards – even optional standards.

“To be clear, our industry does not oppose new emission standards.  We simply want to ensure that these future standards produce a real clean air benefit that consumers can afford.  We will continue to work with EPA and other stakeholders to address our remaining concerns.”

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