Peterson Critical of Last Minute Proposal to Change EPA Rules for Residential Wood Heaters
May 19, 2020
Detroit Lakes, Minn. -- Representative Collin Peterson comments on the last minute U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to amend the 2015 Clean Air Act emissions standards. If finalized, the proposed amendment, which was announced on May 15, would allow the sale of Step 1 compliant residential wood heating devices to continue until November 30. Peterson notes that the EPA announced the proposed change on the day that the Step 2 standards were to come into effect, making it impossible for manufacturers or dealers to plan for the possibility of a sell through. EPA sites the outbreak of COVID-19 and related market disruptions as reason for the proposed sell through that would allow Step 1 models to be sold until November 30, 2020 even though the need for the sell through was brought to the Administration’s attention months earlier.
Prior to the proposed EPA amendment, manufacturers and dealers of residential wood heaters had until May 15 to sell all remaining Step 1 compliant inventory. Central Boiler in Greenbush, and WoodMaster in Red Lake Falls are two wood heater manufactures that together employ hundreds of Minnesotans in the 7th Congressional district.
“EPA has put Minnesota manufacturers of wood heaters in a difficult position with their handling of this rulemaking,” Representative Collin Peterson said. “The agency had an opportunity to include a sell through in the amendments they finalized in April, but they instead chose to put the industry in limbo by issuing this proposed rule on the day the Step 1 sales cutoff goes into effect. While I support the additional sell through in the proposed rule, I am concerned that it will not be sufficient given the severe market disruptions from the Coronavirus pandemic. The EPA should do what they should have done from the start and quickly finalize a rule that provides much needed flexibility for these small businesses.”
The EPA regulates the amount of particulate matter that is released in the air from new residential wood and pellet stoves, hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces within a two-step regulation known as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). Step 1 came into effect in May 2015, while Step 2 went into effect on May 15, 2020.
On January 29, 2020 Rep. Peterson sent a letter to White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought urgingthe Administration to include a sell through for Step 1 compliant wood heating devices in the proposed amendments to the New Source Performance Standards for New Residential Wood Heaters, New Residential Hydronic Heaters and Forced Air Furnaces. Those amendments were published without a sell through provision on April 2, 2020. In a February 2020 meeting with the White House liaison in his Committee office, Rep. Peterson requested the White House provide regulatory relief for the wood heater manufacturers. The Administration did not act on this request.