EPA’s Ban On Wood Burning Stoves Just Days From Taking Effect
The Environmental Protection Agency is set to finalize a set of regulations in February that critics say will effectively ban production of 80 percent of the wood- and pellet-burning stoves in America.
The EPA had published a set of proposed regulations more than a year ago, and since then had accepted public comments.
But the regulations already are having an impact. An advertisement for the Central Boiler Company says that company’s classic outdoor wood furnaces will be outlawed by the new regulations and will not be available later this spring.
The EPA has argued that the new regulations would improve air quality. The regulations require new stoves to burn up to 70 percent cleaner.
“Residential wood smoke causes many counties in the U.S. to either exceed the EPA’s health-based national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for fine particles or places them on the cusp of exceeding those standards,” the EPA previously said. “To the degree that older, higher emitting, less efficient wood heaters are replaced by newer heaters that meet the requirements of this rule, or better, the emissions would be reduced, the efficiencies would be increased and fewer health impacts should occur.”
It would be the first new standards on stoves since the 1980s.
Critics say it is government overreach lacking common sense – and note that people have heated their home with wood for thousands of years.
“It seems that even wood isn’t green or renewable enough anymore,” columnist Larry Bell wrote onForbes.com “… [It’s] the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation’s poorest residents. The agency’s stringent one-size-fits-all rules apply equally to heavily air-polluted cities and far cleaner plus typically colder off-grid wilderness areas such as large regions of Alaska and the American West.”
About 12 percent of all homes rely primarily on wood, Bell said, quoting census data. The regulations won’t force Americans to get rid of their old stoves, but the regulations will ban the resell and the trading in of those stoves.
Local and State Governments Ban Wood Burning
Some local governments are going even farther than the EPA. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency recentlybanned wood burning in King County (Seattle) for several days because of stagnant weather conditions. The Seattle Times reported that persons who violate the ban could face a $1,000 fine.
Elsewhere, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality has proposed a ban on wood burning between November 1 and March 15 for several counties around Salt Lake City. All coal and wood burning would be illegal during that period in Salt Lake, Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Utah, Tooele Utah and Weber counties in the proposal. Only persons who used wood as their sole means of heating would be allowed to keep burning.
An organization called Utahns for Responsible Burning has been formed to fight the ban, The Deseret Newsreported. The News called the ban the nation’s toughest wood-burning ban.
“A full ban would punish those who have invested thousands of dollars upgrading their wood stoves to EPA-compliant models that burn more cleanly,” Brigham Young University Mechanical Engineering Professor Ed Red said of the ban.
In our scope of concepts here at Offgridquest, we understand that the free market usually works things out in the way things should go. If you educate the public as to what is necessary and what is better, the public demand for those necessities goes up, and entrepreneurial ideas find a way to cater to that need.
We see Rocket Mass Heaters running ten times more efficiently than wood stoves, and they are known to burn extremely clean. Among new home construction, this knowledge has created a great marketplace of intrigued and excited individuals who are seeking out professionals to build them, or learning about them online and building them for themselves.
However, these rocket heater designs often do not meet code requirements in U.S. communities, since building codes often are not yet current to the internet-motivated innovation. This leaves homeowners bound between the regulations of the EPA and code enforcers - Rock and Hard Place, and stifled to build their dreams. Rather than disturbing creativity and blocking inefficient models, the EPA could mandate efficiency ratings be labelled on commercially sold stoves. They should focus efforts on educating the public, and let the public do their shopping. People want efficient stoves, and will choose the type of home heat that is most beautiful, cost effective, and efficient for their cravings. Wood stove businesses are there to cater to the desires of the public. They were founded by innovators and fabricators who built what people wanted. Regulate them, and the people will break out welding torches and build for themselves. Educate, and you can change the world.
Could this move gives another government agency a reason to come visit your home and generate fines and "taxes" by way of how "clean" your smoke stack is? Could it be "probable cause" to come inside your off-grid home because of the volume of smoke coming from the Chimney?
A wood stove is far more efficient and burns more thoroughly and hot than a fireplace. Why would wood stoves be regulated before the construction of fireplaces? The EPA is under pressure to show results, and those results often come with overbearing pressure and burden to the public as costs go up on consumer goods. The world is on the internet. Every decision and change should be explained through a well-made youtube video. Sneaky and invasive decisions should be blocked and shut down by an overwhelming public response.
Lastly, manufacturing for many U.S. companies has already moved to China in droves, and wood stoves are among few Made-In-USA products today. There is a new move of technology to phone apps that sell products directly shipped from factories in China, straight to the consumer. These factories produce products with U.S. brand labels for wholesalers in the U.S. The Chinese producers often ignore U.S. patents and bypass their designers and counterparts, offering very low cost direct to consumer pricing through these phone apps and web sites. Such Regulation by the EPA puts undue hardship on U.S. manufacturing and distribution industry already under Chinese manufacturing pressures. The EPA has no ability to regulate these direct-to-consumer purchases, and is simply harming U.S. commerce by regulating in this way. As I browse EPA approved models and older models, I see a difference of about $600 in price. Is it worth $600 per stove to the consumer to be an Epa model? Are you happy to pay an extra $600 on your next stove? Or would you hire a local welder to build you one that looks pretty and works fine? These are all things to consider.
What are your thoughts on the new regulations? What are some other healthy ways to promote clean air without stiff regulations? Comment below or on the facebook post.