Missouri House bill would curb regulations on wood stoves

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives came together in a bipartisan effort Tuesday morning to approve a bill that prohibits the implementation of regulations on wood-burning heaters.

House Bill 1302 prohibits the Department of Natural Resources from regulating the manufacture, performance, or use of residential wood burning heaters or appliances unless first authorized by the general assembly. The bill was proposed after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced a rule change that would give manufacturers five years to comply with tougher standards designed to reduce emissions from wood stoves by about 80 percent.

The measure was overwhelmingly approved in the statehouse Tuesday, where it received 127 "yes" votes, with 21 "no" votes and 12 absences.

Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, was one of the many co-sponsors of the bill, which he said addresses "an important issue."

Since the announcement of the regulations, Richardson said he's been contacted by a constituents concerned about the changes, as have House colleagues.

"One of the things we've been focused on here in Missouri is pushing back against what we think is an overreaching federal government," said Richardson. "And when the EPA is considering rules that are going to treat wood-burning stoves the same as coal-fired power plants, we think it's important to push back on that."

The regulations would affect people across the state, he said, because many rely on wood stoves to heat their homes, and others make a living in the firewood business.

"We have a huge industry in this state that's built around timber and burning wood," the representative said. " ... But we also have a number of wood stove manufacturers in Missouri, and I've had a chance to talk to a number of them."

Richardson said those he met in the stove manufacturing industry told him the new environmental regulations could double the cost of a wood-burning stove.

He predicted before the Tuesday vote that HB1302 -- also was co-sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder of Sikeston -- would be passed with "a very strong bipartisan vote" and said he hopes to see the same result when the measure is taken up in the Senate.

"I'm always a little hesitant to predict what the Senate's going to do, but I know there are a number of senators that feel the same way we do in the House," Richardson said. "It's an important bill, and I think it's something that's going to be a priority for a number of senators."

srinehart@semissourian.com

388-3641

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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