Archive for the ‘Federal NSPS’ Category

For Immediate Release:

Timothy D. Ballo, Earthjustice, tballo@earthjustice.org  202-667-4500
Gregg Tubbs, American Lung Association, Gregg.Tubbs@Lung.org  202-715-3469
Sharyn Stein, Environmental Defense Fund, sstein@edf.org  202-572-3396
David Presley, Clean Air Council, dpresley@cleanair.org  215-567-4004 ext. 122
Nancy Alderman, Environment and Human Health, Inc., nancy.alderman@ehhi.org   203-248-6582

Health and Environmental Groups Challenge EPA over 17-year Failure to Update Clean Air Standards for New Wood Boilers and Furnaces

Groups Seek Clean Air Solutions to Protect Health of Communities and Families from Dangerous Soot

Washington, DC (October 9, 2013) – Today, national health and environmental groups filed a legal challenge to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to update clean air standards that limit emissions from new outdoor wood boilers, furnaces and other similar sources that discharge large volumes of woodsmoke. This review is 17 years overdue, resulting in increased exposure to harmful smoke and soot in communities across the nation despite the wide availability of cleaner technologies.

The American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Clean Air Council, and Environment and Human Health, Inc., represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit over EPA’s failure to update emissions standards for new wood-burning boilers, furnaces and other similar high-emitting sources of dangerous soot as required by the Clean Air Act. The complaint filed today asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to order EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to review and revise the standards. Filing a similar complaint today were the states of New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

Links to PDF of legal filings submitted today:
Groups’ complaint PDF
States’ complaint PDF 

“The EPA set the current standards for wood-burning devices more than a quarter century ago, years before the first of the landmark studies that demonstrated that particles like those that make up woodsmoke can be deadly,” said Janice Nolen, Assistant Vice President, National Policy, for the American Lung Association. “Since then, research into the pollutants from wood-burning has grown rapidly. EPA has abundant evidence that the standards from a generation ago endanger public health.”

When EPA last set pollution limits on new wood-burning devices in 1988, the Agency determined that these devices “contribute significantly to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare.” The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review emissions standards for health harming sources of air pollution every 8 years. Under the law, EPA should have reviewed and updated the standards in 1996, 2004, and 2012.

EPA’s failure to update the standards means that homeowners install thousands of new wood-burning boilers, furnaces and stoves each year that produce far more dangerous air pollution than would cleaner units. Emissions from high polluting devices include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, and carcinogens. The revised standards would only apply to new units, and would not affect existing sources.

“Woodsmoke from these devices is a significant source of dangerous fine particulate matter and because they emit close to the ground and their use is concentrated in certain areas including the Northeast, Northwest and Midwest, they have an enormous impact on wintertime air quality in those areas,” said Tim Ballo, attorney for Earthjustice. “The EPA needs to update its standards, which fail to cover the most heavily polluting types of wood burning equipment.”

“Wood stoves and boilers are a significant source of harmful particulates and toxic hydrocarbons,” said Elena Craft, Environmental Defense Fund Health Scientist. “Rigorous, health-protective standards for new stoves and boilers are both long overdue and urgently needed to protect families and communities around the country whose health is impacted by wood smoke emissions.”

“We’ve seen the market for outdoor boilers expand over the past two decades and over 10,000 units are sold each year,” said David Presley, Staff Attorney, Clean Air Council. “EPA and the industry developed voluntary outdoor wood boiler standards in 2010, but most devices sold fail to meet even these voluntary standards.”

EPA’s standards of performance do not reflect improvements in technology available widely today. For example, the State of Washington requires wood-burning devices to meet PM emission standards that are 40 percent more stringent than EPA’s standards. Moreover, EPA’s own data shows that many current devices far surpass even the Washington standards. Some widely-sold wood-burning devices, such as large outdoor wood boilers, are not covered at all by EPA’s current standards.

“Until EPA acts, the wood smoke from these devices will continue to enter the houses of all those who live near them, causing families to lose their health as well as the value of their homes, explained Nancy Alderman, Environment and Human Health, Inc. “The EPA cannot continue to allow so many citizens to be made sick because they have not acted, as the law requires, to set new air emission standards that keep pace with improving technology.”


Related posts:
States, Groups Demand EPA Update Outdated Residential Wood Heater Standards
Tell EPA to Close the Hydronic Heater Loophole

American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.

Clean Air Council
Clean Air Council is a non-profit environmental organization that has fought to improve the air quality across the Mid-Atlantic for more than 40 years. The Council has over 7,000 members across the region. The Council’s mission is to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean air. www.cleanair.org

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law organization dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.  earthjustice.org

Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. See twitter.com/EnvDefenseFund; facebook.com/EnvDefenseFund

Environment and Human Health, Inc.
Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), is a non-profit organization composed of physicians, public health professionals and policy experts dedicated to protecting human health from environmental harms.  EHHI is committed to improving the public’s health and reducing environmental health risks to individuals.  www.ehhi.org


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PBS: NY Wood Boiler Documentary #1 26:46

To watch the video, click on the image or this link: http://video.wcny.org/video/2365087958

Rural New Yorkers are being smoked out of their homes by neighbors who use wood boilers (also called hydronic heaters) to heat their homes. PBS Insight host Susan Arbetter examines the controversy and uncovers a lack of adequate protection for neighbors’ health and safety. Interviewed: residents Bonnie Lichak and Jean Neidhardt, Peter Iwanawicz with the American Lung Association, and wood boiler advocates Jeff Williams, NY Farm Bureau, and Phil Gitlen, Central Boiler attorney and partner with Whiteman Osterman & Hanna. Features include the Central Boiler E-Classic 2400, an EPA Phase 2 hydronic heater.

More on the video including action alert: 2013 Sept 27 post: PBS show Insight with Susan Arbetter about Wood Boilers on RAWSEP – Residents Against Wood Smoke Emission Particulates

Contact: Clean Air Rights for Everyone of NY: http://www.careny.org  info@careny.org

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States and public advocacy groups are demanding the US Environmental Protection Agency update new source performance standards (NSPS) for residential wood heaters. This is the 25-year-old federal program used to “certify” woodstoves. The Clean Air Act requires EPA review and revise the standard every 8 years.

The states and groups argue that residential wood heaters are fired up much more frequently since the rules were crafted in 1988, including a “dramatic increase” from the exempted category of hydronic heaters, also called wood boilers.

Woodriver Wood-fired Hydronic Heater 2009-2013, 58 Trinidad Dr, Fairbanks, Alaska

Woodriver Wood-fired Hydronic Heater 2009-2013, 58 Trinidad Dr, Fairbanks, Alaska

The states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Oregon, New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts, as well as the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency of Washington State, sent notice August 1 that they plan to sue for EPA’s lack of promulgating new source standards for residential wood heaters as required by the Clean Air Act. Attorneys General NOI to EPA on NSPS (missing some pages).

On the same day, four organizations sent EPA a similar 60-day notice: American Lung Association, Clean Air Council, Environmental Defense Fund, and Environment and Human Health, Inc. NGO NOI to EPA on NSPS (missing some pages).

Wood burning devices contribute between 62 and 81 percent of winter fine particulate air pollution in Fairbanks and North Pole.

Link: Environmental Headlines 8/30/2013

Related posts:

Tell EPA to Close the Hydronic Heater Loophole
What You Breathe Each Winter in Fairbanks and North Pole [pie charts]

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Central Boiler E-Classic 2400, EPA Phase 2 Qualified, 8/30/2012, Midwest, US

Central Boiler E-Classic 2400, EPA Phase 2 Qualified, 8/30/2012, Midwest, US

Hydronic heaters, also known as outdoor and indoor wood boilers, remain unregulated by EPA. It’s time EPA held these appliances to the same emission standards as woodstoves. Please email or call EPA and tell them 20+ years with no updates is long enough.

Contact: Gil Wood – EPA <Wood.Gil@epamail.epa.gov> (919)541-5272

Please CC: Clean Air Fairbanks <cleanairfairbanks@gmail.com>, Nancy Alderman – president EHHI <nancy.alderman@ehhi.org> [link to Environment and Human Health Inc.]

“EPA is in the process of developing revisions to the residential wood heater new source performance standards under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. In addition to tightening the emission limits on currently regulated wood heaters to reflect improvements in best demonstrated technology, EPA anticipates new regulations for other residential devices that use solid biomass as fuel. For example, EPA anticipates new regulations for outdoor and indoor hydronic heaters and forced air furnaces. EPA anticipates proposing the revisions and the new regulations by Summer 2012.” http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/ordinances.html

SPEAK UP NOW to strengthen the DRAFT NSPS

EPA will consider your comments RIGHT NOW on the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for residential wood heaters. Mr. Wood is overseeing development of the hydronic heater section, the most controversial section. The earlier 3/9/2011 draft, available on the Burn Wise link below, received heavy criticism and has been pulled back to be “strengthened”. Currently the draft is in internal review, but a revised draft is expected to be published online and in the Federal Register this summer (2013) with a 90-day public comment period.

Send your comments and data including photos RIGHT NOW to encourage strengthening the NSPS. All available efforts should be directed at the hydronic heater section to block certification of Phase 2 devices. Please also join us in advocating for the 2.5 g/hr limit or less for all devices certified under EPA’s NSPS program. Be sure to keep a copy of your comments to revise and resend when the draft is officially open for public comment.

Hydronic heaters, often called Outdoor Wood Boilers, can be installed outside or inside a building. The two smoky units across the street from Woodriver Elementary are both Phase 2. A court order shut down both in February. The trial is scheduled Sept 16, 2013, CourtView case number 4FA-13-01205CI. Images document the five-year history of one of the Woodriver hydronics.

Woodriver Wood-fired Hydronic Heater 2009-2013, 58 Trinidad Dr, Fairbanks, Alaska

Woodriver Wood-fired Hydronic Heater 2009-2013, 58 Trinidad Dr, Fairbanks, Alaska

Background Data on Latest Public Draft NSPS:

THEN: Original 1988 NSPS emission limit for new woodstoves: 7.5 g/hr for non-catalytic, 4.1 g/hr for catalytic
NOW: EPA’s latest public NSPS draft:

  • woodstove limits: 4.5 g/hr for non-catalytic, 2.5 g/hr for catalytic (match Washington State limits)
  • pellet stove limits: match proposed woodstove limits

THEN: 1988 NSPS exempted hydronic heaters (indoor and outdoor wood boilers)
NOW: EPA’s latest public NSPS draft:

  • 0.32 lb / mmBTU heat output for outdoor HH in 2013 and indoor in 2014 (current Phase 2 qualified)
  • 0.15 lb / mmBTU heat output for both outdoor and indoor HH in 2016
THEN: 1988 NSPS exempted single-burn-rate stoves
NOW: considering 3.0 g/hr

THEN: 1988 NSPS exempted forced-air / warm-air furnace
NOW: considering 0.93 lb / mmBTU heat output in 2014 (match Canadian standard)

THEN: 1988 NSPS exempted coal heating devices
NOW: no change considered

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