Monday, March 18, 2013

Bill to overturn outdoor wood boiler regulations fails to pass Utah Legislature

Salt Lake City, Utah – The Republican dominated Utah Senate upheld regulations on outdoor wood boilers by not voting on a bill that had easily passed the Utah House.   The bill, HB 394, would have overturned regulations on outdoor boilers that was passed almost unanimously by a House committee and then by the full House on Tuesday by a vote of 59 to 12. The bill most likely would have passed the Senate had it not been for the efforts of advocacy groups such as the Alliance for Green Heat, the Wasatch Clean Air Coalition and others concerned about the negative affect outdoor wood boilers can have on local air quality.

Proponents of the bill had been distributing a flyer with inaccurate and misleading information to legislators. The flyer stated that OWBs are cleaner and more efficient than EPA certified wood stoves and that 49 states allowed what the new Utah regulations would not. In fact, the Utah regulations allowed the installation of qualified outdoor wood boilers in most of the state but did not allow their installation in the more populated areas that were in air quality non-attainment.

The Alliance for Green Heat contacted the Senate sponsor of the bill who became very concerned about the accuracy of flyer as well as a key proponent of the bill who had represented himself as a concerned citizen but who was actually being paid by Central Boiler to lead the campaign. The Alliance collected 45 signatures in under 24 hours for an open sign-on letter to the Utah legislature urging them not to vote for this bill that would overturn reasonable regulations the state set on outdoor boilers this February. The signatories represented leaders in the biomass industry, nonprofits, professors and clean air advocates and citizens who had been personally affected by OWB smoke and more.

A key question, relevant to many towns and valleys in the West, including places like Libby Montana, is whether EPA qualified outdoor wood boilers should be allowed in populated valleys that experience inversions and are in non-attainment. Central Boiler and HPBA sent comments to Utah officials that were very critical of the regulations that only allowed outdoor wood boilers to be installed in rural, attainment areas.

For more background and information on the position of the Alliance, click here.

Click here to see the letter to the Utah legislator signed by 15 leaders of the wood stove and boiler industry and other experts and here to see the letter signed by 46 individuals.

Thanks to everyone who lent their voice to this campaign. With your help, we were able to help the Utah legislature understand the disinformation campaign that the bill was based on.


  1. Congrats on your success! The best way to build on it and clean up the wood heating industry is for people to refuse to buy the current polluting monstrosities.

    In-service tests of EPA certified Phase 2 stoves found they emitted 11.06 grams of PM2.5 per hour (EPA report 600/R-00/100).

    That means they emit more PM2.5 (the most health-hazardous air pollutant, responsible for about 20 times as many premature deaths as the next worst pollutant, ozone) as a new diesel 4WD or sports utility vehicle does in a year.

    Woodstoves will have their place if new emissions standards can make them as clean as the average new car. Until then, people should make their homes as energy efficient as possible and use the money they save from not buying a new woodstove to install solar cells, solar hot water, or a heat pump.

    This is much better for our health and will help to reduce climate change. Current stoves are so polluting that they will causes more global warming over then next 20 years than heating 12 similar homes with gas

    As you will know, The American Lung Association "strongly recommends using cleaner, less toxic sources of heat. Converting a wood-burning fireplace or stove to use either natural gas or propane will eliminate exposure to the dangerous toxins wood burning generates including dioxin, arsenic and formaldehyde” see

  2. Where do you obtain your in-service test data from? At best it is erroneous, at worst, it is a blatant lie!

    1. What test data are you referring to? I don't think we mention any in the story.

  3. The in-service test data was cited as being from an EPA report: 600/R-00/100. Use this link to see the report:
    Table 3-9 of the report has the 11.06 g/hr emission value. It should be noted that the value reported in the table is 11.06 +/- 8.05 g/hr. So there was a lot of variability in the data - not surprizing for residential cordwood stoves.

    1. I see. your reply is directed at the comment above, not at our story. Thanks for sharing the link to the EPA report.