As of January 3rd, the EPA banned about 80% of the wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts in the United States. Stoves which are used to heat 12% of the homes in America and are especially needed in outlying rural areas. Fireplaces are also being looked at.
The EPA is attempting to reduce particle pollution with new rules. Instead of limiting fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 μg/m3 limit. That is equivalent to a person smoking 3 to 4 cigarettes in a small confined space.
The draconian EPA regulations will be spread out, one will take place in March and the next in five to eight years. Stoves currently in use will not be affected but obviously, getting them repaired will become more and more difficult.
They haven’t yet gone after outdoor appliances or home heating appliances, but can they be far behind? Will people be able to heat their homes in a future controlled by extreme environmentalists?
Even fireplaces are being looked at though not included yet. They are part of the future research.
Forced air furnaces will also face drastic cuts and are headed for extinction over the next five years unless they meet near-impossible limits to their emissions.
The ruling will “require efficiency and carbon monoxide testing and reporting, which will provide consumers additional information to help them select the best wood heater for their homes,” which will cost sellers and home owners time and money as they face an unbending bureaucracy overseeing these simple devices.
Some local governments in some states have gone further and banned stoves as fireplaces, placing fines on users. Montréal, Canada has banned them altogether. It gets pretty cold there but they don’t care.
The Attorneys General in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, strongholds for far-left Democrats, have filed suit against the EPA demanding wood-burning water heaters and outdoor wood boilers also be included. The extreme environmental group EarthJustice also filed suit.
Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), along with Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements, et al have been investigating and will continue to hold the administration accountable where possible.
Regulations like these are being forced through with “fake” lawsuits.
The corrupt scheme being used is known as “sue and settle”. It allows the EPA more freedom in advancing harsh regulations on the public. The scheme works like this according to Senator Vitter of Louisiana:
A far-left environmental group sues a federal department or agency, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming that the government is not satisfying its regulatory obligations. Then, after the group and the EPA plan and discuss the matter – without the involvement of any others, including affected business, landowners, and state and local governments – they draft a settlement agreement committing the agency to regulate a certain sector of the economy or type of private property. All that’s left is to get the presiding judge to bless their friendly agreement.
There’s even a bonus prize in this scheme. Because such a settlement is counted as a “win” for the environmental group plaintiff, that suing group is awarded all of its costs and attorney’s fees, creating a revolving fund for its continuing activity, courtesy of our wallets.
Presto: the left, including the Obama Administration, advances its aggressive environmental agenda. No need for messy Congressional hearings or opposing arguments.
Tens of millions have been spent on these corrupt “lawsuits” but it is impossible to get a handle on it at the EPA because they don’t keep track of their attorney’s time on a case-by-case basis. How CONVENIENT!
During the first term of the Obama Administration, EPA entered into more than 60 “sue and settle” agreements with environmental allies, including 34 lawsuits by Sierra Club, 20 by WildEarth Guardians and nine from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). These agreements, and thus environmental activists, have effectively dictated EPA policy.
The EPA is one more agency politicized by the Obama Administration.
Last year Forbes reported The Chamber of Commerce concluded that Sue and Settle rulemaking is responsible for many of EPA’s “most controversial, economically significant regulations that have plagued the business community for the past few years,” including regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants, chemical manufacturers, and a host of other industries.
One of the most successful and most egregious are the “regional haze requirements under the Clean Air Act.” This Act is being used to force through unreasonable restrictions that are costing states hundreds of millions of dollars.
For example, in Montana, EPA’s proposed Regional Haze controls are nearly 250% more expensive than what that agency’s standing rules presume to be “cost-effective. In 2011, according to Forbes, the EPA disregarded New Mexico’s Regional Haze plan, instead imposing a federal plan that requires nearly $840 million more in capital costs…potentially raising average annual household utility bills by $120.
Louisiana Senator David Vitter (R-LA), the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is investigating, “using all available tools to bring to light this often abused path to regulatory influence”.
It’s almost impossible to get the EPA to comply with FOIA requests which is the first step in the process.
These sue and settle suits have had serious repercussions to land owners hoping to develop and grow on their property, repercussions which will only get worse.
The studies on which these decisions are made are not even responsibly peer-reviewed. The EPA’s regulations have eliminated the possibility of building new coal refineries and upcoming rules will make it impossible for older facilities to survive. Coal affects 40% of US households. The furnaces and wood-burning stoves will affect another 12%. Fireplaces will affect an even greater number.
The EPA’s regulatory determinations lack accountability and transparency which enables them to accomplish through a renegade pattern of actions what they cannot achieve through democratic legislative processes. Will people finally lash out or just settle in to the seizure of all our energy sources except the impractical and costly ones they allow?
Representative Tammie Wilson speaking to the Associated Press, the Times reported: “Everyone wants clean air. We just want to make sure that we can also heat our homes.” Wilson continued: “Rather than fret over the EPA’s computer–model–based warning about the dangers of inhaling soot from wood smoke, residents have more pressing concerns on their minds as the immediate risk of freezing when the mercury plunges.”
I guess the environmental leftists expect global warming to take care of our heating needs.
The EPA is asking for input on wood-burning stoves using the Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0734 and comments can be sent in any of the following ways:
- www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
- E-mail: Comments may be sent by electronic mail (e-mail) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fax: Fax your comments to: (202) 566-9744.
- Mail: Send your comments to: Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460.
- Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver your comments to: EPA Docket Center, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. To make special arrangements or for questions, call (202) 566-1742.
**Three sentences were corrected for grammatical errors after publication.