The agency says its proposal would reduce emissions from the next generation of stoves and heaters by an estimated 4,825 tons a year — an 80 percent reduction over estimated emissions without the rule. The EPA projects that volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from future new heaters would be 76 percent lower as a result of the rule and carbon monoxide emissions would be 72 percent lower compared to current requirements.
The proposal would affect a variety of wood heaters manufactured beginning in 2015 and will not affect heaters and stoves already in use in homes or currently for sale.
The proposal covers several types of new wood-fired heaters, including: woodstoves, fireplace inserts, indoor and outdoor wood boilers (also called hydronic heaters), forced air furnaces and masonry heaters.
The EPA says many residential wood heaters already meet the first set of proposed standards, which would be phased in over five years to allow manufacturers time to adapt emission control technologies to their particular model lines.
The proposal does not cover fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens, barbecues and chimineas.
Smoke from residential wood heaters can increase toxic air pollution, VOCs, carbon monoxide and soot, also known as particle pollution, to levels that pose serious health concerns.
When these standards are fully implemented, the EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to comply with these standards, the American public will see between $118 and $267 in health benefits. The total health and economic benefits of the proposed standards are estimated to be at $1.8 to $2.4 billion annually.
The EPA will take comment on the proposal for 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold a public hearing Feb. 26 in Boston and expects to issue a final rule in 2015.
Late last month 75 Chambers of Commerce from across the US filed an Amicus Curiae brief objecting to the EPA’s authority to regulate air pollution. The Supreme Court heard the EPA’s arguments in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in December and most of the eight judges hearing the case voiced some support for the regulations.
Photo Credit: woodstove via Shutterstock