EPA Sued Over Soft Wood Stove Restrictions

(USNewsMag.com) – The Biden administration is being sued by 10 states that feel that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not doing enough to stop the environmental damage caused by wood-burning stoves.

Attorney generals from Washington, Vermont, Alaska, Oregon, Minnesota, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency filed a 60-day notice of intent on June 29. The notice of intent accuses the EPA of failing to review emissions standards for residential wood-burning stoves, saying current standards do not sufficiently ensure the safety of the environment. This means programs that change out older models of wood stoves for newer technology, such as forced hot air, may not be effective at curbing harm to the environment.

The 2015 EPA testing and standards for residential wood stoves were found to be flawed in a February report by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General. The report found that the testing methods could allow residential wood stoves to be sold that “emit too much particulate matter pollution.” This means programs aimed at replacing older wood stoves may not improve air quality.

Between 2015 and 2021, $82 million in grants for residential exchange programs that replace older residential wood stoves were distributed by the EPA.

According to the report, wood-burning stoves are used by 39 percent of households in the Fairbanks North Star Borough of Alaska. The region has temperatures that can often reach well below zero degrees F. The region also has inversions, which trap cold air as well as pollution close to the ground for days or even weeks. Between 2010 and 2021, over 3,000 wood-burning stoves were replaced using federal, state, and local grants.

The EPA responded to a draft of the report by saying it would address the concerns regarding testing and certification standards.

The 60-day notice of intent comes after the Department of Environmental Protection in New York City released draft rules that cut down on the emissions released by establishments using coal-fired as well as wood-fired ovens.

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