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Missouri legislation pushes back against strict proposed EPA reg - KOAM TV 7

Missouri legislation pushes back against strict proposed EPA regulations on wood stove manufacturing

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Recently passed legislation in Missouri pushes back against strict proposed regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency on wood stove manufacturing.

Some manufacturers say should the regulations be enforced, costs would increase so much that their products would no longer be affordable to consumers.

House Bill 1302, signed by Governor Jay Nixon in 2014, prevents the Department of Natural Resources from implementing the proposed EPA changes, which aim to reduce emissions from wood stoves by about 80 percent.

Those who work in the industry of selling wood stoves say those stricter regulations could potentially cause many manufacturers to go out of business.

A majority of the stoves currently for sale at Flames For Home & Hearth in Joplin burn at an energy efficiency rating of around 70 percent.

Increasing that efficiency even further, as required by the proposed EPA regulations, would slightly reduce emissions, but drastically increase manufacturing costs.

"These new standards seem like overkill," said Bob Boyles, Owner of Flames For Home & Hearth. "It seems like it's going to be a lot of expense for very little improvement."

Boyles says higher costs will not only lead to fewer manufacturers nationwide, but will also take away the affordability that attracts customers.

For many, it's a cheaper alternative to high utility costs.

"It is a lifesaver," said Susan Spencer, wood stove owner. "I would never have another home without a wood burning stove."

Prices are already going up.

"It will certainly make it more difficult for lower income people," Boyles said.

Boyles says lobbyists with the Hearth Products and Barbecue Association are currently in negotiation with EPA officials, trying to find common ground.

"It would make a much bigger impact to improve the stoves that are 40 percent efficient up to 70 percent, rather than trying to take the existing technology that we have now and bump it up," he said.

Boyles says offering a rebate for customers to exchange older stoves for higher efficient models is a more logical first step to further improving the environment.

"If we can slow the EPA down on this, our stove manufacturers are still going to be here and we're going to have economical heat for a long time," he said.

"I hope it stays down or at least affordable," Spencer said.

The EPA is expected to finalize the regulations by spring or early summer.
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