Friday, August 30, 2013

Intent to sue notice exaggerates complicated issues


By Scott Nichols, Tarm USA

States should take the high road

A coalition of states recently issued a notice to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of intent to sue.  States want to end delays in implementing overdue New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for wood burning appliances.  Further, states want the EPA to include new classes of wood burning appliances in the NSPS.  Particularly, wood boilers, also known as hydronic heaters for indoor and outdoor use, are described by the states as being major contributors to airborne pollution. The seven page notice is laden with statistics and is heavily footnoted. 

What is surprising is that the states, after many years of voicing concerns about the accuracy of claims made in wood burning appliance advertising, have themselves made expedient claims in their intent to sue.  For instance, the statement that European appliances have increased efficiency from 55% to over 90% is not the complete story.  Efficiency numbers can be stated a number of different ways.  For instance, the Fröling FHG wood boiler was recently tested by Brookhaven.  The technology the boiler uses is generally considered BDT for residential wood boilers.  Its rated seasonal efficiency at HHV was 68% according to Brookhaven.  The European test gives the same boiler an efficiency of 88%.  When people use efficiency numbers that are not clearly defined, it confuses the situation.  The very state regulators who get upset about the overstatement of efficiency numbers by wood appliance advertisers should know better than to play the same game. 

In the very next paragraph the states laud the Europeans for stringent emission and efficiency limits.  The very states that are party to the intent to sue notice could have supported a European style emissions test years ago, but have instead delayed emission and efficiency testing by trying to create new, more accurate test methods based on real world conditions.  To threaten the EPA over time delays while not encouraging the adoption of European style emission and efficiency testing many years ago is seems like an unjustified position to take.

In more than one location in the notice of intent to sue, states claim that use of indoor and outdoor boilers is increasing.  With time the number of hydronic heaters sold in aggregate will always increase, but how many are also going to the junk yard?  Many early outdoor wood boilers have rotted out and are no longer in use.  1970s oil crisis boilers are being retired as parts become hard to come by in some cases.  Old smoky boilers are less in favor than they once were which makes sales values closer to scrap values.  The word is getting out about wood smoke pollution.  Together with an economy that is down, energy conservation efforts, and proliferation of other renewable energy technologies, the claim that the use of boilers is increasing is dubious and unsupported by any data.  There is no need to over-state or to sensationalize.  It is clear that there are offensive wood burning appliances that not only pollute heavily, but are sullying the reputation of the wood burning industry.  Time and public sentiment are not on the side of these products.

Regulators missed the boat by waiting 25 years to update the NSPS.  One must wonder why states are at long last taking legal action with such verbose claims against the EPA.  EPA implementation of the NSPS is unfortunately going to have little effect on air pollution from wood burning appliances in the near future.  There are simply too many appliances in operation to rely only on regulation of new appliances to clear the air.  We now have to wait for all of polluting appliances now in use to die off.  That will take 20 years.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meet the Contestants; The Wittus Twinfire



With the first Wood Stove Decathlon only a few months away, we are profiling each of the teams. Learn more about how they hope to win the competition!

Wittus – Fire by Design has entered into the Decathlon their EPA certified Twinfire stove. The stove was originally designed by two German engineers to create an efficient burning method and offset air pollution in developing countries. It uses a patented double combustion chamber to maximize its efficiency through gasification, a process that superheats wood gas to reach a claimed 93% efficient wood burning capacity. The upper chamber is the main firebox used to build and tend the fire. The lower chamber is the exterminator that burns any remaining ash down to bits.

The Twinfire stands in a long line of Wittus products that are dedicated to high efficiency, low emissions, and an attractive design. The Twinfire has won several prestigious European awards including the German Land of Ideas award in 2012. Founder Niels Wittus values the quality of these stoves and strives to create smart stove designs to maintain a healthy environment. Perhaps his background and passion for cooking has brought the health and detail oriented mindset to selecting the best ingredients to making a top quality wood stove.

In Denmark, Wittus was set to apprentice at a high-scale restaurant, but after a trip to the US, he decided to stay. Over 30 years later, Wittus is keeping the Danish brændeovn or wood stove tradition alive, combining it with the modern style and state-of-the-art technology of an American businessman.

Even with the busy schedule, hard work, and resulting success, Wittus still holds on to his passion for cooking. At business gatherings and dinners, he treats his team members, Bodo Specht, Alyce Wittus, Sandra Lena, Patti Boker Elkon, and Gail Jankus to some wood fire grilling.

We are looking forward to seeing the Wittus Twinfire in action at the Wood Stove Decathlon November 16-19, 2013. Vote for your favorite stove at Popular Mechanics.

Here is a link to a video of the Twinfire in action.

Sources include the Lewisboro Daily Voice






Friday, August 23, 2013

Reduced buying power may lead to more reliance of wood to heat homes


Median household income has declined 4.4% since the official end of the recession in 2009, and is 6% lower than when we went into the recession in 2007. This enduring reduction in the buying power of the American consumer may lead to a continued increase in the use of wood and pellets, as more Americans seek cheaper alternatives to oil, propane, and electric heating.

Source: The Washington Post. Fletcher, Michael.
"Four years after end of recession, incomes remain depressed
It is likely that the surge in wood heating between 2000 and 2010 was partly due to reduced buying power and job loss. During that time, wood and pellets were the fastest growing heating fuel in America. States where unemployment was the highest typically saw even higher growth in wood heating.

New studies show that lower income families have locked in that reduced buying power since the end of the recession. Income growth in America over the past 10 years has disproportionately gone to the top and very top income groups. Those income groups may be installing high-end outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, but they rarely use wood or pellets as a primary heating source. Rather, the lower income groups are more likely to rely on wood as a primary heating fuel, according to Census Bureau statistics.

The long-term reduced buying power of Americans is also likely contributing to the growth in the sales of less expensive wood stoves such as those sold at big box stores.  Industry experts say sales of wood and pellet stoves at large hardware chains has grown significantly in the last 5 years.  It also may be leading to more sales of very cheap stoves that are exempt from EPA emission standards.  And, it is likely leading to more families continuing to rely on older stoves, instead of upgrading to newer, cleaner and more efficient stoves.

Inflation adjusted median household income is now about $52,000, compared to about $56,000 before the recession. What is notable is that while unemployment continues to drop, from a high of 10% to 7.5%, median income has not risen.  Energy costs take a much bigger bite out of the incomes of families who are below the median income range, leading to energy insecurity and reduced use of HVAC systems.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Meet the Contestants; Woodstock Soapstone


With the first Wood Stove Decathlon only a few months away, we are doing a weekly blog to showcase the Decathlon competitors. Take this opportunity to learn more about the design teams and their stove’s innovative features.

“When we started, stoves were basically six-sided boxes, and you put a fire in it. Now we’re making equipment, with a lot of moving parts. The technology is much better and increasing rapidly,” said Tom Morrissey, owner of Woodstock Soapstone Co. in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, which has been building cordwood-burning stoves for 35 years. For the Decathlon Woodstock Soapstone has entered their Union Hybrid stove.


Design Team (clockwise from lower left); Jason Guimaraes, Lorin Day, Harold Garabedian, Larry Young, Tom Morrissey, Ken Blum, Lewis Thibodeau, missing: Dan Batchelder & Kristie Haupt
The stove includes many technological aspects that make it a strong competitor in this year’s Decathlon. It uses an advanced hybrid combustion design incorporating both catalyst and secondary combustion. It has variable and self-regulating air/fuel ratio in order to maximize combustion efficiency and minimize emissions at all burn rates. Also, the soapstone body helps radiate heat for high heat transfer efficiency.

“We are essentially making a gasification stove,” he said, “If you look at this thing when it’s burning, the fire does not look like what you would think of as a wood fire. The whole top of firebox is like an inverted gas burner; there are 120 holes with a tube of flame coming out of each one.”

In development at Woodstock Soapstone are two beta-test modules: a Thermoelectric Module and a remote Woodstove Monitor. The module powers a small fan that assists with heat transfer. The power produced may also be used to charge a cell phone or LED light.

User responsibility and effectiveness are key to an efficient and low emission wood stove. Computers have largely cut out the need for a human operator in many technological fields, but Woodstock Soapstone hopes to avoid the added expense of computer controls. Instead, they will employ a remote Woodstove Monitor. It will provide real-time feedback on burn rate, BTU output, efficiency, emissions, and stove temperatures.

“Burning wood without this information is like driving a car without a speedometer and gas gauge,” said Morrissey. Knowing this information will help stove owners use their stoves more responsibly and effectively.

“Ten years ago, you could never imagine having a little computer on the stove. If you were in a small industry like ours, you couldn’t dream of having a graphic-user- interface, but now it’s available and affordable,” Morrissey said. The Union Hybrid stove, with its 21st century technology and efficiency and emissions capabilities, is certainly a far cry from a six-sided box with a fire in it.

We are looking forward to seeing Woodstock Soapstone’s Intercontinental in action at the Wood Stove Decathlon November 16-19, 2013. Vote for your favorite stove at Popular Mechanics.



The U.S. and Australia have Similar, but Distinct, Stove Regulation Strategies.

Australia is in the process of developing stricter emission standards for wood heaters and their approach is a fascinating glimpse into another regulatory culture. The strategies and cost – benefit analysis in Australia should be a valuable comparison for the EPA as it finalizes its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for US wood heaters. This post is an overview of an Australian report showing the financial gains created by stricter regulations on wood heaters.

In 2011 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) identified air quality as a Priority Issue of National Significance and agreed that the COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW) would develop a National Plan for Clean Air to improve air quality, and community health and well being, to be delivered to COAG by the end of 2014. The first stage of the National Plan for Clean Air will focus on particle emission reductions and a consultation Regulation Impact Statement which assesses alternative policy options that could be employed to reduce emissions from wood heaters in Australia, and establishes their relative costs and benefits.

The current Australian Standards that cover wood heater emissions and efficiency set a criterion of 4 grams of particulate matter (PM10) per kilogram of fuel brunt (4g/kg). There is currently no efficiency criterion, but efficiency results must be reported on a label permanently attached to the appliance.

The report showed a large range of potential policy measures that could be implemented to reduce emissions from wood heaters. The potential measures fall into three major categories:
  • wood heater design or performance standards;
  • measures to promote compliance of retail models against these standards; and
  • measures influencing the in-service operational performance of wood heaters.
These measures could be delivered through a range of policy 'vehicles'. The policy delivery approaches examined are a voluntary national program, a collaborative approach or a national regulatory approach.

Under the business-as-usual or 'base case' scenario, particulate emissions from wood heaters in Australia are expected to fall by around 5000 tons (or 12%) over the next twenty years, as old heaters are progressively replaced with new, lower particulate emitting heaters. The reduction in annual particulate emissions from wood heaters under the policy options examined, over and above the business-as-usual reductions, range from 3% to 18%.

The estimated costs to government of implementing the different policy options range from $15 million over the next twenty years to around $39 million. The estimated costs to manufacturers range from $240,000 to $17 million, the strictest boasting an efficiency standard of 60% as well as an emission limit of 1.5 g/kg. The health benefits of the options are estimated to range from $760 million to around $1,850 million over the twenty year assessment period. Although the greatest emission reductions are estimated for the most expensive option, the highest health benefits are estimated for another which has a shorter phase-in period for the new standards. The estimated benefits far outweigh the estimated costs of all options included in the analysis. The present value of the net benefits range from around $750 million to $1,800 million.



The report concludes the greatest net benefits are likely to be achieved via a national regulatory approach for managing wood heater emissions, rather than through a voluntary or collaborative approach. This could be achieved either through a Commonwealth regulation, a National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) or through mirror legislation.

View the full report here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet the Contestants; HWAM


With the first Wood Stove Decathlon only a few months away, we here at the Alliance for Green Heat have started a weekly blog to showcase the Decathlon competitors. Take this opportunity to learn more about the design teams and their stove’s innovative features.

One of the European finalists of the Decathlon is the newly developed HWAM 3630 IHS from the Danish manufacturer HWAM. The stove is run by an oxygen sensor and computer, and even beeps when it’s the optimal time to reload more wood. This is one of the finalists that is already on the market and retails for $4,216.

HWAM has had a longstanding ambition to develop a more intelligent stove to heighten the technological level of its products. Helping the consumer burn wood with minimal attention to the stove and no experience necessary, while achieving the same results at home that are obtained in test labs under ideal conditions are key to their innovation philosophy.

HWAM founder Vagn Hvam Pedersen is the leading creative and technical mind behind the stove. He has outfitted the stove with advanced technology and a sleek, modern European design. For the Hvam Pederson family the stove is the center point of the home for the family to gather in comfort and warmth. Hvam Pedersen built the family owned business from the ground up until it ignited to become an internationally renowned company.

Video of HWAM
IHS features
The innovation behind the HWAM 3630 IHS rests in the Autopilot Intelligent Heat System (IHS). This system allows for precise control over the stove’s combustion and temperature. The system uses a lambda oxygen sensor and a thermocouple to electronically measure combustion conditions. These measurements are then sent to a computer that automatically regulates three independent fans to control airflow for optimum combustion. The temperature of the fire may also be controlled through a remote control, as the fans adjust their speed accordingly.

The advantage for the consumer to have IHS is that an optimum burn means the most efficient use of firewood. This puts less of a strain on the stove owner’s fuel and the environment. The concept of the stove is to work around a potentially inexperienced owner to offset human error when possible. HWAM has even been awarded the Nordic Ecolabel after following strict environmental regulations. The stove must comply with rigorous limits on local air pollution and emissions of dangerous substances such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.

We are looking forward to seeing the HWAM 3630 IHS in action at the Wood Stove Decathlon November 16-19, 2013. Vote for your favorite stove at Popular Mechanics.



Friday, August 9, 2013

Interstate Transport of Firewood to be Regulated


Regulations are now being drafted and reviewed that would place certain labeling and recordkeeping requirement on companies moving firewood across state borders. According the USDA, in essence the regulations would require that the location of the production facility of the firewood be on the label, along with the county or counties from which the trees used to produce the firewood were harvested. If a treatment was applied, then a final labeling element would be required to verify heat treatment and the schedule.

On the record keeping side, firewood producers would need to keep and provide upon request records of where, from whom, and in what quantities they received the wood used to make the firewood. The same is required for shipments of firewood to customers. The USDA says that they are not considering any requirement on information about the costs of or revenues received from those transactions. Firewood distributors would need to keep similar records (volume received and from whom, volume sold or shipped and to whom). Retailers would need records of incoming inventory and total sales volume. 

According to the USDA, the regulations are still in draft form and working their way through the required review processes prior to publication as a proposed rule. The opportunity to review the language and comment will occur during the public comment period after publication as a proposed rule in the Federal Register. The publication date is undetermined at this time because of the time various reviewers take to review regulations varies from reviewer to reviewer. It is unlikely that the firewood labeling and record keeping regulations would be published this calendar year.

The labeling and record keeping requirements described above are predicated on the National Firewood Task Forces’ (NFTF) recommendations for best management practices for firewood. That document can be found here (among other places on the internet):


Below is the initial notice about the upcoming review process.

Domestic Regulation of Firewood

    Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701 to 7772; 7 U.S.C. 7781 to 7786.
    Abstract: This rulemaking would require that commercial firewood  destined to be moved interstate be affixed with a label on which the  county and State, or counties and States, in which the wood from which the firewood was produced was harvested, the site at which the firewood was produced, what phytosanitary treatment, if any, the firewood has received, and contact information for reporting detections of suspected plant pests are prominently and legibly displayed. We would also require firewood producers, distributors, and retailers to retain  records regarding the manufacturing, purchase, and sale of the firewood. Although the movement of commercial firewood in interstate commerce can be a pathway for numerous plant pests, this movement is currently largely unregulated. This action would aid in preventing the further dissemination of plant pests within the United States through the interstate movement of firewood.
    Timetable:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Action                    Date            FR Cite
------------------------------------------------------------------------
NPRM................................   11/00/13
NPRM Comment Period End.............   01/00/14
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes.
    Agency Contact: Paul Chaloux, National Program Manager, Emergency
and Domestic Programs, PPQ, Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road, Unit 137, Riverdale, MD
20737-1236, Phone: 301 851-2064.
    RIN: 0579-AD49

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Meet the Contestants; SmartStove


With the first Wood Stove Decathlon only a few months away, we are doing weekly blog posts to showcase the Decathlon teams and the innovative technology they are developing.

The SmartStoveTM control system was developed to introduce very affordable, modern technology to wood-burning products that seem locked in the past. SmartstoveTM uses a thermocouple, microprocessor, and controller to automate airflow throughout the combustion cycle of the stove. Thus, stoves are not allowed to smolder, not to overfire, but rather to operate at optimal temperatures.

In 1998, Dan McFarland, an electrical engineer, began heating his home with an EPA certified fireplace insert. After six years of what began feeling like babysitting the stove, he searched the web for a control system product to take over for him. After discovering it did not exist, he began formulating a method to develop his own. In 2005, the first functioning proof-of-concept prototype exceeded his expectations, reliably managing the draft control for him, keeping the fire burning clean and maximizing the burn time. As Plato stated, “necessity is the mother of invention.”

With the encouragement of some close friends, McFarland continued the self-funded development of what evolved into the intelligent and versatile SmartStoveTM control system, a powerful device the size of a regular thermostat.

By the winter of 2006, he developed an upgraded system that added proportional control of the insert’s blowers, enabling the system to efficiently manage a fire and also optimize heat transfer into the home, reducing the need for backup heat on cold nights. 

The next year, SmartStoveTM made its first public appearance at the HPB Expo in Reno, Nev. While some expo attendees and fellow exhibitors could not imagine computerized controls on a wood stove, others were excited by the project and encouraged McFarland to continue.

The following year, after developing upgraded system architecture, a stove manufacturer requested to evaluate the system on one of their new stove designs. After delivering a stove fully retrofitted with SmartStoveTM, and excitement by the manufacturer about the success of the project, the subprime economic crisis stalled development as stove manufacturers moved to protect their finances. SmartStoveTM system was upgraded again in 2010 to add a radio link between the User Interface wall panel and the stove.

SmartStoveTM system is now shipped to individuals who are searching, much like McFarland was, for a control system to integrate into their own stoves.

SmartStoveTM will be hosting an open house and fundraiser, including demonstrations of the system, on Saturday, Oct. 12. Further information and updates about the system and event will be available on the Inven Inc. website, Twitter, and Facebook.

We are looking forward to seeing SmartStove in action at the Wood Stove Decathlon November 16-19, 2013. Vote for your favorite stove at Popular Mechanics.




Friday, August 2, 2013

Explanation of the OMB Review of the NSPS


Explanation of the Office of Management and Budget Process for the Wood Heater New Source Performance Standard

Prepared for the Alliance for Green Heat by the law firm Van Ness Feldman, LLP

Introduction
            On July 26, 2013 the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received for review the Standards of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters, New Residential Hydronic Heaters and Forced-Air Furnaces, and New Residential Masonry Heaters (hereinafter referred to as the “Wood Heater NSPS”).  The following discussion explains the role of OMB in the rulemaking process and notes some specific information about the Wood Heater NSPS page on OMB’s website, which can be found here: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201304&RIN=2060-AP93.

Background on the OMB Process
            The particular section of OMB that reviews significant draft regulations is called the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).  OIRA reviews rulemakings to determine whether EPA has considered various alternatives as well as to ensure coordination between federal agencies to avoid inconsistent, incompatible, or duplicative policies.  OIRA reviews approximately 500-700 rules a year.  OIRA can “return” a rule to the drafting agency for further review if it finds that the proposal is deficient.  Often such a process occurs when an agency has not sufficiently examined alternatives in the proposed rule.  OIRA also can suggest that changes be made to a rule before it is released in final form.
            The process of regulatory review is designed to help improve the rulemaking process and create coherent policies across all the agencies of government.  The OMB website notes, “Regulatory analysis is a tool regulatory agencies use to anticipate and evaluate the likely consequences of rules.  It provides a formal way of organizing the evidence on the key effects – good and bad – of the various alternatives that should be considered in developing regulations.  The motivation is to:  (1) learn if the benefits of an action are likely to justify the costs, or (2) discover which of various possible alternatives would be the most cost-effective.”  http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/OIRA_QsandAs/.
            OMB is required to review a rule within 90 days, but there is no minimum period for review.  The head of the rulemaking agency may extend the review period.  In addition, the Director of OMB also has the ability to extend the review, but not by more than 30 days.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/OIRA_QsandAs/.  In practice, however, OMB sometimes takes far longer than 90 days to review a rule, and in rare cases rules can stay at OMB for years.  If the Executive Branch does not want to finalize a rule, it can instead leave it marooned at OMB.  Thus, it is best to think of 90 days as a general rule of thumb from which OMB sometimes deviates, although legally they are required to act within the 90 day review period unless an extension is received.
Information on Wood Heater NSPS Process
            As noted earlier, the Wood Heater NSPS was received by OMB for review on July 26th.  In addition to the general process explained above, there is some specific information about the Wood Heater NSPS that is helpful to understand when consulting the page on the OMB website which tracks rules. 
            First, note that “NPRM” stands for “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.”  The date for the NPRM listed on the OMB page is September 2013.  This is the aspirational date for EPA to release the proposed rule after OMB review.  There is no settlement agreement pursuant to which EPA is required to release the Wood Heater NSPS by a particular date.  Given that the rule went to OMB in late July, it is possible that the deadline will slip and the rule will not be released until late October or November if OMB takes the whole 90 day period to review the rule.  
            EPA’s website lists the publication date for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in November, not September.  http://yosemite.epa.gov/opei/rulegate.nsf/byRIN/2060-AP93.  It is likely that it will take several weeks after the release of the pre-publication version of the rule before it can be published in the Federal Register.  Therefore, if the pre-publication version is released in late September, in may not be published in the Federal Register until November 2013.  Publication will set the time frame for public comment.
            The date listed for the final rule, November 2014, is similarly a statement of when EPA would like to release the final rule, which includes time for responding to comments received on the proposed rule.  Again, because there is no litigation over EPA’s delayed timing for this rulemaking, this date also is aspirational.  While EPA’s listed date means that the Agency has every intention of hitting this marker, it does not always happen.  It is not possible to say precisely how easy it is to push back the date, other than to note that there are no litigants or a presiding court with which to negotiate, and thus there is much about the timing that is within the Agency’s discretion.  It is important to point out that the Agency could always be sued for delay in issuing its revised NSPS, and if the litigants prevail, a more truncated schedule for the rulemaking may be set by a settlement agreement.
            In addition to the dates for the proposed and final rules, some of the terms listed on the OMB page are helpful to understand.  First, it states that “the statutory final rule deadline is not driving the schedule for this action” and lists “2/26/1996” as the date for the statutory deadline.  This is because under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to update the NSPS every eight years.  The last time the Wood Heater NSPS was amended was 1988.  Thus, technically, the standards were required to be reviewed in 1996, which means the Agency has fallen woefully behind its schedule for updating the rule.  Consequently, the page correctly notes that the statutory deadline is not “driving the schedule” for this action.
            The page also has a notation that states “small entities affected: businesses.”  The listing in this document is not a conclusion, but just a required statement.  As the EPA’s website explains, “EPA notifies the public when a rulemaking is likely to 1) have any adverse economic impact on small entities even though a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis may not be required and/or 2) have significant adverse economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities.  http://yosemite.epa.gov/opei/rulegate.nsf/byRIN/2060-AP93#2.  Thus, this listing puts the pubic on notice that small businesses may be impacted by this rulemaking proceeding and that the appropriate small business analyses will be conducted.
            Further, the page includes the notations “priority: economically significant” and “unfunded mandates: no.”  Like the small entities notation, these are both required to be disclosed to the public. A rule is economically significant if it has potential economic impact of $100 million or more per year, or could “adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities.” http://www.reginfo.gov/public/jsp/Utilities/faq.jsp.  Economically significant rules require a more extensive review of the costs and benefits.  The notation that there are no unfunded mandates denotes that the rule does not impose large burdens on state, local, or tribal entities without providing the resources to carry out those responsibilities.

Substantive Description of the Wood Heater NSPS
            In addition to the items above, the OMB page includes a description of what is to be included in the rulemaking.  First, it should be noted that this description holds no legal weight and is just an attempt to summarize what will be in the rule.  Specific terms include:
·      That the rule will “reflect significant advancements in wood heater technologies and design;”

·      “This rule is expected to require manufacturers to redesign wood heaters to be cleaner and lower emitting;” and

·      “[S]treamline the process for testing new model lines by allowing the use of International Standards Organization (ISO)-accredited laboratories and certifying bodies, which will expand the number of facilities that can be used for testing and certification of new model lines.”

            Each of these terms explains what is expected to be in the rule; however, this summary is purely descriptive and is not binding on the Agency.  The description simply represents what EPA was willing to put forth as a summary of the rule’s contents.  The text listed on the OMB site is the same as the abstract found on EPA’s website regarding the proposed rulemaking.   http://yosemite.epa.gov/opei/rulegate.nsf/byRIN/2060-AP93#2.  The description is meant to inform the public about the possible changes in the current NSPS, but EPA’s website includes a disclaimer which notes, “The information on this site is not intended to and does not commit EPA to specific conclusions or actions.  For example, after further analysis, EPA may decide the effects of a rule would be different or it may decide to terminate a rulemaking.” http://yosemite.epa.gov/opei/rulegate.nsf/byRIN/2060-AP93#2.
                                   
* * *  *  *
Prepared for the Alliance for Green Heat by Van Ness Feldman, LLP