Wood-burning heaters may soon be falling by the wayside. Seven states have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to force them to impose regulations on residential wood-burning heaters they feel can cause “particle pollution to levels that cause significant health concerns.” Perhaps surprisingly, the lawsuit was filed just weeks after the EPA banned 80 percent of the wood-burning stoves used by Americans in their homes.
The attorney generals in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia filed the lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; a related lawsuit was also filed by the environmental group Earthjustice. They are specifically targeting unregulated “indoor and outdoor wood boilers,” which have become an increasingly common way to heat homes in rural areas. An American Housing Survey showed 12 percent, or 2.4 million homes in the U.S., use wood as their main heating fuel, compared to 7 percent for fuel oil.
The lawsuit claims the “EPA estimates that outdoor wood boilers will produce more than 20 percent of wood burning emissions by 2017.” If the lawsuit forces the EPA to implement new regulations, rural Americans using wood may be forced to spend thousands of dollars in switching to new units or on more expensive forms of energy
It’s also likely the new regulations will be put through because the lawsuit is largely a formality. “EPA has been playing this game for years,” said Dr. John Dale Dunn, a physician and policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, to CNSNews.com. “Environmental groups get together to file a lawsuit against the EPA with the goal of creating a new regulation. EPA wants them to file the lawsuit because it wants to put the new regulation in effect, but it doesn’t have the statutory authority to do so.
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