Rural states are bristling over proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions from wood stoves.
Currently, wood stove manufacturers must keep emissions down to 7.5 grams of particulates per hour. But the proposed rules would reduce the allowable amount to less than two grams over the next five years. Soot emissions are a serious public health concern in some areas of the country because they can cause lung problems and heart attacks.
But Larry James, who owns High Country Stoves in Laramie, says he’s worried the new rules could hurt his business, because his customers might not be able to afford cleaner-burning stoves. He says enforcing the rules already on the books would be a more reasonable route. “Okay, instead of making the emissions so much tighter and putting more manufacturers out,” he says, “how about we get rid of the three-fourths of the stoves that are still not certified.”
Colorado homebuyers are required to upgrade to certified stoves when they purchase a new home. James says Wyoming should do the same. He says the EPA should educate people how to burn fires cleaner—for instance, by not smoldering them or burning green wood--in the stoves they already own.