Governor Jay Nixon signed legislation Friday prohibiting the Department of Natural Resources from regulating wood-burning heaters, unless specifically authorized by the Missouri Legislature.
The legislation was introduced in an attempt to prevent Missouri from helping implement a proposed rule change by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. That proposal would give manufactures five years to meet tougher standards reducing emissions from wood stoves by an estimated 80 percent.
The EPA’s existing regulations implemented in 1988 caused emissions to be reduced by as much as 70% due to the use of new technology, and don’t apply to all of the different kinds of wood-burning devices now in use. Older stoves sold prior to 1989 produced emissions of 20-40 grams per hour. Today’s stove emissions are 1.9 – 4.6 grams per hour, which is a significant reduction that likely can’t be reduced. The new regulations are so strict, that manufacturers may not be able to meet the guidelines. Manufacturers have said the EPA proposal would drive up their costs and force them to raise prices to a point where many consumers could no longer afford to purchase their products.
Wood stove bill HB1302 sponsored by Representative Tim Remole and co-sponsored by Paul Fitswater specifies that the EPA must go to the legislature directly to get approval for any new rules are implemented and that Missourians have the right to heat their homes and businesses using wood-burning furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, and heaters. The bill becomes effective on August 28, 2014.
In part, the Bill reads “New rules or regulations shall not be applied to existing wood burning furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, or heaters that individuals are currently using as their source of heat for their homes or businesses. All wood burning furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, and heaters existing on August 28, 2014 shall be not subject to any rules or regulations enacted after such date. No employee of the state or state agency shall enforce any new rules or regulations against such existing wood burning furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, and heaters.” See the entire bill for more information.
The Midwest Chimney Safety Council says that this is good news for homeowners who wish to heat their homes with wood and for businesses that service chimneys, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves. If wood-burning were to be drastically reduced or eliminated thousands of jobs would be lost in the hearth sales industry and chimney service industry in Missouri.