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February 4, 2015

Statement on Updated EPA Standards for Wood Heating Equipment

Earthjustice filed a legal challenge over the EPA’s failure to update these standards as required by the Clean Air Act

Contacts

Tim Ballo, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5209

Washington, D.C.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule to update the air pollution performance standards for new residential wood heaters—furnaces and other similar sources that can discharge large volumes of smoke and soot. Pollution from these devices include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants and carcinogens that are harmful to human health. The revised standards would only apply to the manufacture of new units, and would not affect wood heaters that have already been manufactured or installed.

Earthjustice, on behalf of the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Clean Air Council and Environment and Human Health, Inc., filed a legal challenge over the EPA’s failure to update these standards as required by the Clean Air Act. This challenge resulted in a deadline for the final rule to be issued today. 

Statement from Tim Ballo, Earthjustice’s lead counsel on this issue:

“The original standards for wood heaters were issued in 1988. Since then, our understanding of the health risks posed from exposure to soot and the many dangerous chemicals within the smoke has greatly increased. And new technology now allows residential wood heaters to burn much cleaner and safer. 

“The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review these critical safeguards every eight years. We pushed for this review to ensure that the most current data and technology are applied when manufacturers build new wood heaters. This ultimately helps protect the health of the people and the communities where wood heating is common.”

Read the EPA news release.

Smoke from a wood boiler. The devices emit high volumes of hazardous air pollutants and carcinogens.

Smoke from a wood boiler. The devices emit high volumes of hazardous air pollutants and carcinogens.

Photo courtesy of Michael Hoy

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.