According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the draft NSPS proposal has not yet been sent to the OMB because the OMB is backlogged with other regulations that take precedence because they are court ordered. The OMB then has 90 days for their review. Then the public has a 90-day comment period.
When the last delay was announced, EPA said the draft would be published in the Federal Register in June or July. Now, August is the earliest but with no firm deadlines, September or October seems likely.
This is likely to be either the 4th, 5th or 6th significant delay, depending on how or who is counting. With this newest delay, the possibility that the publication of these draft regulations will come after the November elections looms larger. Some representatives of industry say that a Republican victory in November is likely to lead to less strict emission and efficiency requirements in the NSPS.
“For the most commonly purchased appliances – the wood and pellet stove – this NSPS represents business as usual except for the potential impact of a minimum 70% efficiency requirement,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “Buyers of wood heaters deserve to know that they are getting at least a 70% efficient stove,” said Ackerly. The Alliance for Green Heat is also an outspoken critic of EPA proposing the same emission standards for pellet stoves as for wood stoves. “Allowing pellet stoves to emit up to 4.5 grams an hour serves no one’s interests and is just a give-away to industry. Ultimately, it may even undermine the motivation and ability of jurisdictions to promote pellet stoves as a cleaner appliance,” Ackerly continued.
HPBA reports that one factor contributing to the delay is that states are apparently still telling EPA that some parts of the new rules do not go far enough in reducing emissions from new heaters. HPBA says it is preparing responses to many of the specific issues raised by the state air agencies. Top on the list of concerns for HPBA includes the new efficiency targets, the plan to co-propose a new, lower target for hydronic heaters and concerns about the value to the environment of changing the Category I burn rate in the test method.