Saturday, January 11, 2014

EPA Jackboots Wood Stoves

The last time that I checked on this, and I must admit it is decades ago, no one inhales wood smoke.  After all that is why you stand up wind of a campfire.  Wood is a source of heat occasionally indulged in because it also produces pleasant aromatics as well as a local heat source that augments central heating system and is never meant to be used exclusively unless at remote sites.

What is more, you limit use in densely built up areas usually because of wise local ordinance.  Even there occasional use bothers no one either.

It is also painfully apparent that all buildings require a backup heating supply.  For most applications, a generator is the single best choice because it returns full utility to the energy system in use.  However a wood stove is ideal for lesser structures and should be in place. 

As Americans nearly freeze to death, EPA pushes to criminalize many woodstoves
Friday, January 10, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes

NaturalNews) Only a government bureaucracy would seek to impose insane heating rules during the dead of winter, but that's Washinton, D.C., for you - short on common sense, high on authoritarianism, and drunk with power.

That's the only way to explain a new Environmental Protection Agency proposal to impose regulations on new heat stoves, as reported by Fox News:

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new standards for wood stoves that would reduce the maximum amount of fine particulate emissions allowed for new stoves sold in 2015 and 2019.

The Fairbanks Daily News Miner newspaper further reported:

The EPA's much-anticipated wood stove regulations are proposed to go into effect throughout the country in 2015, requiring newly manufactured stoves to cut maximum emissions by more than a third. Those standards would tighten dramatically in 2019.

Maybe wood doesn't burn the same in Washington, D.C.

The new proposed rules ostensibly come as a result of "increasing research and scrutiny of fine particulate air pollution," the paper continued, which is known as PM 2.5. The agency said such particulate matter has been linked to long-term negative health impacts, like heart and lung disease - though there is nothing from EPA geniuses about the negative health effects of, say, freezing to death.
[ they must be joking. But they are not.  Perhaps it is time to demand a double blind test of this curious conjecture - arclein ]

Alaska seems to be of particular interest to the agency, which appears to be saying that, despite its distance from the ruling class, Alaska is still not too far away to be messed with by petty little tyrants who draw paychecks from Alaskan taxpayers, as well as those "in the lower 48." From the Miner:

Fairbanks and North Pole have been struggling to meet the EPA's air pollution standards, with much of the focus being placed on wood burning as the primary source of PM 2.5. The 
EPA set a deadline of 2014, but compliance isn't expected to be reached for a number of years.

Under current regulations, a non-catalytic wood stove meets EPA certification if it produces less than 7.
5 grams of PM 2.5 per hour.

The new rules would require those emissions to be trimmed down to 4.5 grams of PM 2.5 for all stoves made after the date the regulations would go into effect. Presumably, the physics behind the manner in which 
wood in a fireplace is burned will remain the same.

Alaskan legislators, apparently in an effort to head off the rules, have proposed regulations that would set a limit of 2.5 grams of PM 2.5 for all heaters in areas that are deemed incapable of reaching the EPA's limitations:

In the justification for its limits, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation wrote that the EPA's current regulations, which were first adopted in 1988, are no longer effective.

We must control... wood heaters!

"ADEC proposes more stringent emission standards for wood-fired heating devices than those currently adopted by EPA because the existing federal emission standards have been and continue to be inadequate to prevent deterioration of air quality in Alaska and exceedances of (National Ambient Air Quality Standards)," the state agency's justification document stated, as reported by the Miner.

As you might expect, right now, only a small portion of stoves on the EPA's "certified stove list" (yes, they actually have one of those 'you can only use these kinds of stoves' list) would meet the new requirements.

Though it's not clear where the data came from, the EPA bureaucrats claimed that the changes will bring instant health to the land:

"When these standards are fully implemented, EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to comply with these standards, the American public will see between $118 and $267 in health benefits," it said. "Consumers will also see a monetary benefit from efficiency improvements in the new wood stoves, which use less wood to heat homes. The total health and economic benefits of the proposed standards are estimated to be at $1.8 (billion) to $2.4 billion annually."

[ I am looking forward to seeing the detailed analysis supporting these claims. – arclein ]

Less wood would be nice, but will "less wood" translate into more heat? That's generally not the case, but maybe the laws of physics don't apply in the world of an EPA control freak.



Anonymous said...

yet another government stab at frugal and/or poor people that can't afford conventional heat. Not only that, wood heat is using a renewable resource.
If you all in a non-attainment area have a pollution problem deal with it locally and leave the rest of us the he!! alone!!

Fred said...

I contacted the EPA about this issue, and here is the reply email that I received:

Thanks for sending along the link to the article. Just to be clear EPA is NOT developing regulations to stop people from using their wood stoves or banning wood stove use.

EPA is in the process of amending a more than 20 year old regulation that requires manufacturers of wood burning stoves to manufacture stoves that are cleaner burning - as you can imagine the technologies have improved since the late 80s. The regulation DOES NOT impact existing wood stoves.

In general, our goal is simply to encourage people to burn as efficiently and cleanly as possible, not to stop them from using wood as a source of heat. As a side note, I too heat my home with wood and have for years. I appreciate you actually following up to check the accuracy of the information you read.


Residential Wood Smoke Reduction Initiative, Team Leader
Phone: 919-541-5398

Anonymous said...

Last winter was nearly the coldest in history for most of the US. Propane is not a renewable resource. By imposing stricter emission controls on wood burners, they will be forcing thousands of people to "upgrade" to burning nonrenewable propane, natural gas, or fuel oil. They imposed emission controls on vehicular exhaust long ago, but they didn't force them to burn upside down, and then burn the smoke. Their money would better be spent fighting the dozens of forest fires in California and Nevada. Rather than outlawing wood burning, they should offer grants to wood stove and outdoor wood furnace companies to help them develop cleaner-burning products. Perhaps the EPA could develop a burn-wise video to send with each furnace, stating which types of wood burn cleaner, and the values of letting it dry first. The bottom line: burning wood is not irresponsible, rather, burning wood irresponsibly is irresponsible, but not a criminal offense. NYC's smog doesn't come from outdoor wood furnaces. No questions about that. The state of Michigan passed an excellent new law denying the EPA the ability to enforce their regulations in their state. The EPA needs boundaries. The American government has always been run by a system of checks and balances: the President can veto, and congress can override the veto etc. There are very little boundaries to the EPA.