The EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80 percent of America’s current wood-burning stoves, 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.
EPA moved ahead with sweeping new regulations on wood stoves, wood-fired furnaces and outdoor boilers. Some states say they won’t abide by the rule.
Regulations will be put into place over the course of five years. There is a grandfather clause that quells resistance but it does ban any reselling or trading of non-compliant wood stoves.
Wood stoves will become very expensive because these rules will ban 80% of the current wood stoves and fireplace inserts. Old ones will become more and more expensive to repair.
Is this for real?
EPA to ban wood heat
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 on Forbes.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.”
While EPA’s most recent regulations aren’t altogether new, their impacts will nonetheless be severe. Whereas restrictions had previously banned wood-burning stoves that didn’t limit fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 microgram limit. To put this amount in context, EPA estimates that secondhand tobacco smoke in a closed car can expose a person to 3,000-4,000 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter.
Most wood stoves that warm cabin and home residents from coast-to-coast can’t meet that standard. Older stoves that don’t cannot be traded in for updated types, but instead must be rendered inoperable, destroyed, or recycled as scrap metal.