The EPA Is Going to Regulate Wood-Burning Fireplaces Out of Existence



This sentimental old thing is going the way of wood stoves.

First it was wood-burning stoves and soon it will be fireplaces.

The EPA will soon ban 80% of indoor and outdoor wood stoves. This came about thanks to the notorious “Sue and Settle” method in which an environmental group, in collusion with the EPA, sues the EPA knowing they will not take it to court, but rather they will “settle” by agreeing to whatever regulation is being sought. The EPA will often give them taxpayer-funded compensation as an added benefit.

Next up are wood burning indoor and outdoor fireplaces.

The Utah Sierra Club forewarned us. They penned an article, “Fireplaces and Wood-burning Stoves, The Joys and Dangers of Fireplaces and Wood-burning Stoves”, which basically says, sure, fireplaces hold cherished memories and yes, they’re sentimental, but it’s “time to douse the ember and close the flue.”

“The EPA estimates that a single fireplace operating for an hour and burning 10 pounds of wood will generate 4,300 times more PAHs—powerful carcinogens—than 30 cigarettes,” according to the article.

Fireplaces are polluting, dangerous, and sending toxins into the air, they say.

As has happened with cigarettes, they are using second-hand smoke to further their argument and they have a University of Washington study to back it up. They also claim smoke from fireplaces will invade lungs and blood.

Including wood stoves and fireplaces in the same category, they said this: “Utah’s Division of Air Quality is currently working on a regulation that would require wood stoves either to be removed at the time of the next real estate transfer or certified compliant with EPA standards.  This would be an improvement, but as the evidence piles up of the impact of wood smoke, only a full ban is sufficiently protective of human health. ”

Only a full ban is acceptable!

If Utah caves, other states will too or the EPA will step in and nationalize the rule.

The Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment, an offshoot website, echoes the same data and the same urgency for banning wood-burning appliances including fireplaces.

In fact, you can find the same data and the same spiel being blogged by innumerable environmental organizations throughout the country. The Washington State Ecology Department “estimates that sooty pollution from sources including wood smoke and diesel exhaust contributes to 1,100 deaths and $190 million in health costs annually. Fireplaces are 20% of the problem,” they insist.

The EPA quotes the same statistics but for the moment, they are settling for voluntary programs in which citizens change out their old wood stoves, hydronic heaters, and fireplaces. There is, however, no question that they put fireplaces in the same category as wood stoves but they aren’t pushing the issue on fireplaces immediately because they aren’t used as often, but it’s coming. All the hype about how dangerous fireplaces are is the first strike.

By 2019, the EPA regulations of wood stoves will be so stringent that some manufacturers contend that the higher production costs would either force them out of business or raise prices so high that many consumers could no longer afford their products.

“There’s not a stove in the United States that can pass the test right now — this is the death knoll of any wood burning,” Reg Kelly, the founder of Earth Outdoor Furnaces in Mountain Grove, told Missouri lawmakers during a recent hearing.

Missouri is trying to hold the EPA back. The Missouri legislature has proposed bills to reaffirm the right of Missourians to heat their homes and businesses using wood-burning furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, and heaters. The Missouri House committee endorsed a revised measure that would ban state environmental officials from regulating residential wood heaters unless authorized by the legislature.

In Canada, they control every wood-burning device and in some provinces, there is an outright ban. We are heading in the same direction.

Expect to see a Sue and Settle case to regulate and eventually ban fireplaces. It’s coming.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has 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”. Included are regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants, chemical manufacturers, and a host of other industries. Such consent decree-based rulemaking enables EPA to argue to Congress: “The court made us do it.”

This isn’t about clean air. This is about your freedom to do what you wish with your home.


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6 years ago

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