EPA looks to reduce smoke from wood burning stoves

SHELBY, Mich. (WZZM) -- There could soon be major changes for people who use wood burning stoves to heat their homes. The Environmental Protection Agency wants to clean up smoke produced by wood and pellet stoves.

That includes outdoor wood furnaces likes the ones Hawken Energy builds in Shelby. Last week company president Warren Walborn traveled to Boston for public meetings on the proposed emissions changes. "It is still uncertain on how the rules will come out. There are lots of people who are upset about this in the industry," he said.

The EPA says particle pollution from wood heaters can pose serious health concerns. The current acceptable emissions rate would decrease by 80 percent over five years under rules the EPA is considering. Those rules would likely impact stoves built after 2015.

Hawken Energy might be forced to discontinue production of one model. Demand for it's newest model could increase because it already uses new technology to meet the proposed emissions standard.

"We are in favor of the EPA's efforts to clean up the air. We want good air quality. We want this to be a win win for everybody" Walborn said. He thinks new, in-house wood and pellet stoves may have a harder time meeting stricter emissions standards.

Market wide, stoves built after 2015 might cost slightly more, but heating with wood will continue. "If we can clean up the air and still retain our right to burn wood and keep those freedoms, then we want to be able to do that," Walborn.

The proposed emissions changes will not affect wood heaters and stoves already in use, or those already manufactured currently for sale.


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