WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today introduced legislation to provide regulatory relief to wood and pellet heater manufacturers by delaying implementation of new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) performance standards. The bipartisan bill extends the effective date of the standards by three years, allowing manufactures the time they need to comply.
“West Virginia has one of the highest levels of wood heat users per capita, especially in our rural communities, and our state is home to a number of small businesses affected by these rules,” Senator Capito said. “By delaying implementation of EPA’s burdensome and unrealistic standards, this bipartisan legislation will give manufacturers a more realistic compliance deadline and ensure West Virginians continue to have access to this affordable and effective source of energy. As chairman of the Environment and Public Works subcommittee with jurisdiction over this issue, I will continue working to advance this legislation in the Senate, providing the regulatory relief our manufacturers need and the clean air energy solutions West Virginians deserve.”
“Forcing small manufacturers—who sell these stoves to folks in rural Missouri who rely on them to heat their homes and businesses—to comply with unrealistic timelines for these rules makes no sense. Instead we should be giving these businesses a realistic timeline to develop and manufacture stoves and heaters that meet the new emissions standards,” Senator McCaskill said.
“This legislation is a common sense measure that will provide manufacturers and small businesses, several of which are located in Alabama, the time needed to meet and comply with the new EPA standards. Alabama and other rural states traditionally have more users of wood or pellet stoves as an energy source and are disproportionately impacted by this rule in its current form. It is my hope that Congress will expeditiously consider and pass this bipartisan proposal,” Senator Shelby said.
“I have always and will always protect our West Virginia small businesses from overreaching and overbearing regulations,” Senator Manchin said. “Many West Virginians, especially in our rural communities, use wood stoves in their homes or businesses. This legislation will make sure that our small businesses that manufacture wood heaters and stoves can comply with emission requirements in a way that helps avoid undue economic burden. This bipartisan bill strikes a balance between the environment and the economy and is a step in the right direction as we continue to work toward an all-of-the-above energy policy.”
“Many of our customers are young to middle-aged families still in the workforce trying to make ends meet by lowering their heating costs by using a wood or pellet stove,” said Matt Speakman, owner of Mountain State Fireplace Gallery in Fairmont, West Virginia. “This legislation will help our industry to develop efficient and affordable stoves that customers will want to purchase as well as help us to avoid having stranded product inventory in May 2020. By extending the effective date to May 2023, we will have more time to work on developing new stoves to meet the new EPA standards.”
BACKGROUND: Step 2 of EPA’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for New Residential Wood Heaters, New Residential Hydronic Heaters and Forced-Air Furnaces are currently set to become effective on May 15, 2020. However, manufacturers have raised concerns that there is not enough time and test lab space to come into compliance by that date. The bipartisan bill introduced today will extend the effective date by three years to May 15, 2023, providing manufacturers adequate time to access test labs, skilled lab engineers and time to develop and certify their products.
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