January 31, 2008

CRAPO: NEW STOVES IMPROVE AIR QUALITY, EFFICIENCY

Introduces legislation encouraging upgrade of wood-burning stoves

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has introduced legislation that would provide a tax incentive to people who voluntarily replace their old wood-burning stove with a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified, clean-burning one. The Clean Stove Act of 2008 (S. 2576) would provide a one-time $500 tax credit during a three-year period to purchasers of wood, pellet and corn stoves, which generally retail between $1500 -$3,000, to encourage consumers to remove their old appliances. EPA estimates that 7.5 million older stoves are currently in use in the United States as a primary or secondary source of home heating.

"Many communities in the U.S., particularly in the West and rural areas, are facing major air quality problems from fine particulate matter pollution." Crapo said. "Encouraging the use of cleaner-burning stoves just makes sense. Using far less wood for heat will save money for hard-working families in the long run, reduce the threat of household fires and is good for both people and the environment. Not to mention, new pellet-burning stoves have created a market for the forest product industry out of what was once generally treated as a waste product. This bill will encourage the efficient use of the most widely-available natural renewable resource in the country-wood and other biomass. Approximately 6,000 old wood stoves in Idaho have been replaced since 1995, reducing particulate matter emissions by 300 tons per year. Dramatic results like these clearly demonstrate just how beneficial the stove changeovers can be."

New federal standards require state compliance with limits on particulate pollution and require immediate action by states and local areas on all sources of particulates. Older, dirty-burning wood stoves create particulate matter and soot. A single dirty wood stove directly emits as much fine particle pollution as seven older diesel buses. In areas where there is a concentration of older stoves, smoke from these stoves can severely degrade air quality, which in turn has been linked to a number of serious health problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and heart and lung disease. New certified stoves are 50 percent more efficient than their predecessors, and produce 70 percent less pollution.

The Clean Stove Act of 2008 is co-sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Wayne Allard (R-Colorado) and Jon Tester (D-Montana), and has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, on which Crapo serves.