EPA Takes Steps to Improve Regulations for Wood Heaters

WASHINGTON  — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took key steps toward ensuring that the Agency’s new source performance standards (NSPS) for new residential wood heaters are based on real-world conditions. The proposed amendments would provide relief for consumers, retailers and manufacturers by allowing the sale of wood heaters that meet the latest emissions limits through May 2022. Over 90 percent of wood heating device manufacturers and retailers are small businesses. This action is expected to save approximately $33 million in regulatory costs from 2019 – 2022.

“Extending the sale of new, Step 1-compliant wood heaters will provide manufacturers and retailers with much-needed certainty and will incentivize more Americans to purchase newer, cleaner heaters, which supports rural economies and improves air quality,” said EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler. “We are also taking comments on the testing methods underlying the Step 2 limit to ensure the standards are based on real-world conditions and do not deprive many rural Americans of affordable access to their primary source of heat.” 

“Maine applauds the EPA’s efforts to revise the 2015 Residential Wood Heater NSPS. We support the improvement of Step 2 wood heater emission standards to ensure they are based on reproducible testing methods using cord wood, which better represents real-life operations,” said Marc A. R. Cone P.E., Director, Bureau of Air Quality, Maine Department of Environmental Protection. “This provides opportunity to establish the most appropriate emission standards for each residential wood heater technology based on representative data and sound scientific methods.”

EPA’s proposed amendments to the 2015 NSPS for Residential Wood Heaters would provide consumers additional time to purchase already-manufactured wood-fired hydronic heaters and forced-air furnaces that meet the latest emissions limits before they are required to sell units that meet tighter limits due to take effect in 2020. The proposal would not change the effective date of the tighter emissions limits; however, it would allow retailers to “sell-through” or sell existing inventory of heaters meeting current emissions limits through May 2022.