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EPA Bans Most Wood-Burning Stoves

epa wood stove ban

Wood-burning stoves offer warmth and enhance off-grid living options during cold weather months, but the tried-and-true heating devices now are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has proposed banning the production and sale of the types of stoves used by about 80 percent of those with such stoves. The regulations limit the amount of “airborne fine-particle matter” to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The current EPA regulations allow for 15 micrograms in the same amount of air space.

Most of the wood stoves currently nestled inside cabins and homes from coast-to-coast don’t meet the new environmental standard. The EPA launched a “Burn Wise” website to help convince the public that the new regulations were needed.

Trading in an old stove for a newer stove isn’t allowed.

“Replacing an older stove with a cleaner-burning stove will not improve air quality if the older stove is reused somewhere else,” the website says. “For this reason, wood stove change out programs usually require older stoves to be destroyed and recycled as scrap metal, or rendered inoperable.”

In some areas of the country, local governments have gone further than the EPA and banned not just the sale of such stoves, but the usage of old stoves – and even the usage of fireplaces. That means that even if you still have a stove or a fireplace, you can’t burn it for fear of a fine. Puget Sound, Washington, is one such location.

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Burn Wise is a partnership program associated with the EPA that is tasked with emphasizing the “importance of burning the right wood, the right way, in the right stove.” Information shared on the website operated by the federal government also states that both state and local agencies are pursuing ways to improve air quality that relate to wood-burning stoves.

The overall goal of the EPA Burn Wise program is to educate both local governmental agencies and citizens about the need for more “cleaner-burning” in the marketplace. Three of the most recent highlighted articles and webinars on the EPA Burn Wise website include details about a voluntary wood burning fireplace program, strategies for reducing residential wood some in state, tribal, and local communities, and a recording entitled, “Reducing Residential Wood Some: Is it Worth it?”

The EPA also has compiled a list of “approved” stoves.

According to a Washington Times review of the wood stove ban, the most dangerous aspect of the EPA proposed guidelines is the one-size-fits-all approach to the perceived problem. The same wood burning stove rules would apply to both heavily air-pollution laden major cities and far cleaner rural regions with extremely cooler temperatures. Families living in Alaska, or off the grid in wilderness area in the West, will most likely have extreme difficulty remaining in their cold, secluded homes if the EPA wood stove rules are approved.

The Times further said that wood burning stoves put less airborne fine-particle manner in the air than is present from secondhand some in a closed vehicle. When an individual smokes inside a car with the windows up, passengers are reportedly exposed to approximately 4,000 micrograms of soot per cubic meter.

Wrote the Times’ editorial board:

“Alaska’s 663,000 square miles is mostly forested, offering residents an abundant source of affordable firewood. When county officials floated a plan to regulate the burning of wood, residents were understandably inflamed. ‘Everybody wants clean air. We just have to make sure that we can also heat our homes,’ state Rep. Tammie Wilson told the Associated Press. Rather than fret over EPA’s computer-model-based warning about the dangers of inhaling soot from wood smoke, residents have more pressing concerns on their minds such as the immediate risk of freezing when the mercury plunges.”

Do you support the EPA’s wood stove ban?

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  1. The EPA should burnt down along with its worthless personnel.

  2. Last winter was nearly the coldest in history for most of the US. Propane is not a renewable resource. By imposing stricter emission controls on wood burners, they will be forcing thousands of people to “upgrade” to burning nonrenewable propane, natural gas, or fuel oil. They imposed emission controls on vehicular exhaust long ago, but they didn’t force them to burn upside down, and then burn the smoke. Their money would better be spent fighting the dozens of forest fires in California and Nevada. Rather than outlawing wood burning, they should offer grants to wood stove and outdoor wood furnace companies to help them develop cleaner-burning products. Perhaps the EPA could develop a burn-wise video to send with each furnace, stating which types of wood burn cleaner, and the values of letting it dry first. The bottom line: burning wood is not irresponsible, rather, burning wood irresponsibly is irresponsible, but not a criminal offense. NYC’s smog doesn’t come from outdoor wood furnaces. No questions about that. The state of Michigan passed an excellent new law denying the EPA the ability to enforce their regulations in their state. The EPA needs boundaries. The American government has always been run by a system of checks and balances: the President can veto, and congress can override the veto etc. There are very little boundaries to the EPA.

  3. The on ly good progressive/liberal is a dead one, they make great fertilizer

  4. Wolf, you hit the nail smack on the head. You tell it straight and to the point.

  5. I agree with Wolf….

  6. maybe we need the EPA to teach some people not to be so potty mouth and learn to speak like a human being, not a stupid pin head!

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  8. The forest fires each year pollutes more than all the wood stoves in America in a lifetime.
    We are allowing the liberal element in our government to run wild eroding our freedoms one by one.
    They must be stopped.

    • Has nothing to do with the “Liberal” element, Max. Has everything to do with lobbying by the fossil fuel industry–ever since the GOP got the ban on corporate donations overturned in the SCOTUS ruling “Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission” back in 2010, corporations have been free to pour as much money into elections as they can afford.

      And the gas/oil companies can afford a lot.

      Liberals actually *prefer* wood stoves–they’re carbon neutral, since wood is just carbon dioxide taken out of the air and then burned to put it back in. No other common source of home heating is carbon neutral or negative (unless your electricity is produced from nuclear or renewables…but it’s most likely coal–which, FYI, puts more radioactive particles into the environment in a year than a nuclear plant does over it’s entirely lifespan!) So don’t listen to the folks trying to blame liberals/progressives for this–there’s a whole lot of gun-toting, meat-eating, tree-hugging, earth-saving liberals out there that this new proposal pisses off to no end!

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