April Fools Day, 2014 - Buried in the documents leaded by Edward Snowden is a report indicating that the National Security Agency has been monitoring the level of noise from pellet stove fans through the homeowner computers and cell phones it routinely taps. It is still unclear what the NSA plans to do
“We know that thousands of Americans are bothered by the high level of noise coming from their pellet stoves, and we’ve found a way to monitor that,” said an unidentified official in the document. “Plus, we may pick up some illegal activity on the side, like taxpayers trying to claim the $300 credit for secondhand pellet stoves they bought on Craigslist.”
German Prime Minister Angela Merkel is reported to have turned off her pellet stove to thwart further NSA intrusion.
Phil Wood of the Environmental Protection Agency quickly denied that the EPA was planning to use this information to set a standard for pellet fan noise in the New Source Performance Standards that regulate pellet stove technology. “We could require manufacturers to report the noise level, even if it added $500 per stove, but we’re feeling friendly toward rural America today and so we won’t regulate that aspect of stoves. Well, at least not for now,” Mr. Wood conceded.
The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, the industry trade group that represents pellet stove manufacturers, denounced the NSA program. “If only the NSA would just work with us as partners, we could have come to a common sense compromise,” said Tom Crouch, Director of Public Affairs. “In any case, the answer is not to regulate fan noise, the obvious solution to this is more change-out programs,” Crouch added.
House Republicans also denounced the leaked plan, promising a full investigation and saying that this may turn out to be worse than Obamacare. They also predicted that “Pelletgate” would likely be a campaign issue in rural areas in the next election.
The Alliance for Green Heat called the program unfair to lower income Americans on the grounds that the NSA would be able to gather more information about pellet fan noise in higher income homes that have more hackable devices. “However, if the NSA now has this info, we can store it for them. It would provide genuine transparency about consumer attitudes, so maybe its not such a bad thing,” said Jan Ackerly, President of the Alliance.