Recent Press Releases

Thune Sends Letter to EPA Demanding Agency Abandon Costly Wood Stove Requirements

Another EPA regulation that would drive up home heating costs for South Dakota families

March 27, 2014

Washington, D.C. — 

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy calling on the agency to drop proposed burdensome requirements on new wood stoves and work with Congress and manufacturers to reconfigure the proposed New Source Performance Standards.

The EPA’s new proposed rule on wood stoves would impose additional requirements and costs on newly constructed wood burning heaters, wood stoves, warm-air furnaces, masonry heaters, and hydronic heaters. The rule would have a disproportionate impact on South Dakota families who rely on wood stoves to heat their homes. One in four homes in South Dakota has a fireplace or wood stove. There are approximately 12 million wood stoves in U.S. homes and 12 percent of homes around the country use wood as a primary heating source. Many families turn to wood stoves when their primary heating fuel becomes more expensive, which occurred during the recent propane shortage.

“With the recent propane shortage throughout South Dakota and many areas of the country, the last thing the EPA should be doing is making it harder and more expensive for families to heat their homes,” said Thune. “The EPA needs to head back to the drawing board and work with Congress and manufacturers to work on commonsense standards that will keep energy affordable for middle-class families.”

The text of the senator’s letter follows:

March 27, 2014

The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

I am writing to express my concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for residential wood heaters.

Despite the industry’s investments to improve emissions and efficiency, I understand that the proposed NSPS will impose additional requirements and costs for wood burning heaters, and particularly wood stoves, warm-air furnaces, and hydronic heaters.  These additional costs will have a disproportionate impact on South Dakota families who depend on wood stoves to heat their homes.

South Dakota and many other states are continuing to deal with a propane shortage, which has resulted in record-high propane prices.  Many families turn to secondary sources of heat, such as wood stoves, when propane and heating fuel prices increase.  The proposed NSPS will consequently increase the cost of a secondary source of heat that is reliable, renewable, and affordable for my constituents – particularly during long cold winters and during shortages of primary home heating fuel supplies. 

I am also concerned about the potential impacts on job creators and small businesses.  Forcing unattainable standards on manufacturers may force them to close their doors because they cannot afford the proper reconfigurations or pass the additional costs along to customers, making their products unaffordable for lower and middle income consumers. 

I understand the importance of improving air quality.  However, rather than imposing burdensome requirements on manufacturers, I strongly urge the EPA to work with Congress and manufacturers to reconfigure achievable NSPS that will also keep this source of energy affordable for consumers.  Thank you for your attention and consideration to these concerns.