Alaska is among nine other states that are suing the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) over poor standards set in place regarding wood-burning stoves. Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington are the other nine states that are a part of this lawsuit.
The Attorney Generals from the 10 aforementioned states say that the EPA failed to review and ensure emission standards for residential wood-burning stoves. These standards are set in place to ensure that the continued sale of certain appliances does not worsen pollution.
According to the EPA, the agency regulates the manufacture and sale of wood stoves built after 1988. The EPA approves stoves that have a low risk of adding to air pollution.
The 10 states claim that the testing process used by the EPA is outdated, and new wood stoves are adding to air pollution.
According to an announcement on the EPA’s website from April 5, 2021, the agency acknowledges they need to change the manner in which new wood stoves are tested. This new form of testing would need to comply with the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) under the Clean Air Act.
These standards required retailers to sell wood heating devices that did not comply with the emissions standard by May 15, 2020. And going forward, pellet fuel must not contain any of the prohibited fuels listed in the 2015 NSPS list.
The EPA claims that smoke from wood heaters and fireplaces contributes to health hazards, which is the resounding reason why they wish to stop the production and sale of these types of stoves. The organization estimates that 360 to 810 premature deaths will be eliminated per year following the implementation of the NSPS. They also estimate that people will require fewer hospital visits and sick days at work due to the removal of these smoke-producing products. The estimated benefit of these benefits is between $3.4 to $7.6 billion annually.
As of June 29, the 10 states have issued a 60-day notice of intent to sue.