WASHINGTON – Following pressure from U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it has crafted more affordable, achievable heating rules for rural families as it implements its new emission standards for wood-burning heaters and furnaces.
“This announcement is a positive step for rural families and folks who rely on wood-burning furnaces to heat their homes and businesses,” McCaskill said. “We’ve been able to help move the EPA so their new emissions standards are more responsible and achievable, and most importantly, that Missouri families who depend on these stoves aren’t burned by their high cost. And I’ll be keeping a close eye on affordability for families and businesses as the EPA works with small manufacturers to implement these standards.”
The EPA rule updates 1988 pollution limits for newly manufactured wood heaters and furnaces, making several changes from the initial proposal that will give manufactures greater time to sell their existing inventory, reduce certification red-tape, and implement the new standards over the next five years. The changes will ensure an orderly phase-in that reduces soot and pollution emissions by nearly two-thirds to protect the public’s health.
Last year, McCaskill sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in response to the EPA’s proposed rule for new wood heaters and furnaces, which currently account for 13 percent of nationwide soot pollution. McCaskill urged the EPA to work with small independent manufactures to craft affordable, achievable heating rules as it implements its new emission standards.
Several public and private voluntary programs, such as the Wood Stove Changeout and EPA’s own BurnWise program, have already successfully minimized fine particulate matter and other hazardous air pollutants from wood heaters and furnaces. McCaskill in the letter expressed concern that for the EPA’s programs to be successful, consumers must have access to newer wood heaters and furnaces that are affordable.
McCaskill is also a co-sponsor of the Reliable Home Heating Act, which would help protect the roughly 212,000 Missouri families who rely on propane for heating from propane price spikes and shortages during the winter.