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Northwest Air Quality Agencies Oppose Possible Delay To Federal Wood Stove Compliance Rules

epa.gov
/
US Environmental Protection Agency

  

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Credit epa.gov / US Environmental Protection Agency
/
US Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency set new clean-air standards four years ago for wood stove and hydronic heater manufacturers.

These manufacturers were told that by 2020 they would have to sell off older models of stoves and heaters that did not meet the new standards that limit fine particulate matter. Now, under the Trump administration, the EPA is proposing a two-year delayto that sell-by deadline.

“Recently, some manufacturers have indicated that they need more time to develop, test, and certify wood heating devices that meet the [new] standard,” wrote the EPA in an announcement of its proposal in the Federal Register. The agency says manufacturers have said “the costs of… compliance are beyond what the industry can bear.”

 

Those opposed to the delay argue it prolongs particulate matter emissions and public exposure to poor air quality. One of those opponents is Oregon’s Director of Environmental Quality, Richard Whitman.

 

In a 12-page lettersubmitted to the EPA, Whitman said Oregon DEQ finds a “serious lack of attention to the disproportionate impact of [the] proposed rule change on low income communities, children’s health, and Native American tribes.”

 

The EPA says it’s trying to relieve the burden on manufacturers who may lose money on non-complying stoves that don’t sell. In his letter, Whitman called the EPA’s rulemaking “ill-conceived” and he said the agency’s analysis of impacts was “deeply flawed.”

 

Washington’s Department of Ecology did not submit comments independently, but the state did sign on to those submitted by the Western States Air Resources Counciland the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.

 

Attorneys General from both Oregon and Washington have joined those from five other statesto submit comments to the EPA. They all say the proposal is unlawful under the federal Clean Air Act.

 

The EPA is taking comments on the proposal through Feb. 13.

Copyright 2019 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.