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Affordable Wood Stove Heat May Be In Jeopardy

Kuma Stoves, Crapo to discuss new federal regulations

Rathdrum - Many Idahoans and Northwest residents heat their homes with wood and wood stoves, but that affordable heating source may soon become complicated because of newly proposed federal regulations.  Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will meet with the owner of Idaho-based Kuma Stoves Monday, August 18, 2014, to discuss the new regulations and their effect on consumers.

Kuma Stoves is an Idaho family-owned manufacturer of wood stoves using all-American parts, including doors produced at a foundry in nearby Spokane.  The company, founded in 1981, continues to create and provide jobs at the Rathdrum location and with its manufacturing and retail partners throughout the region.

Wood stove manufacturers are under pressure yet again to lower federal emission standards, this time to a level that may not be attainable financially or technologically for consumers or the wood stove industry.  Kuma Stoves President Mark Freeman notes that, before the hearth industry worked to develop new technologies, older stoves in the mid-1980s would emit an average of 60 grams per hour of particulates.  In 1988 the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in and worked with the hearth industry to lower emissions to 7.5 grams per hour for all new stoves.  The newly proposed EPA regulations would lower that again to 4.5 grams per hour by the end of next year, and possibly to 1.3 grams per hour by 2020.  In addition, the EPA proposes to radically change the fuel and the test methods for the 2020 targets.

"We are making stoves that are efficient and affordable but these new regulations may change that," said Freeman.  "The ironic part is that these changes will raise prices and cause consumers to not upgrade their old units, meaning the air will get dirtier instead of cleaner.  We just want some fairness in this process and for the EPA to hear the industry's concerns, especially that of small businesses like ours, regarding both the benefits and costs of the new emission targets". 

Crapo is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, with jurisdiction over the EPA. "Monday's meeting is a call to action for consumers and industry alike to let the EPA know that public health and jobs are at issue with how far we go with these new regulations.  Worse yet, the EPA has unfortunately fallen into a pattern that uses non-public data and undisclosed models with the science the agency uses to craft regulations.  We need the light of day on this issue and others and we are asking Idahoans to weigh in."  Crapo has joined committee colleagues and Idaho Senator Jim Risch to introduce S. 2613, the Secret Science Reform Act, which would prohibit the EPA from proposing or finalizing regulations based on science that is not made publicly available to the American people and that is not reproducible.  A similar measure has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

News Conference and Tour of Kuma Stoves:

Monday, August 18

1:00 PM

Kuma Stoves Manufacturing Facility

50145 Old Highway 95 (just north of Coeur d'Alene off U.S. 95)