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Community Action - Laws and Ordinances
Certain jurisdictions have established legal requirements to reduce wood smoke. For example, some communities have restrictions on installing wood-burning appliances in new construction. The most common and least restrictive action is to limit use at those times when air quality is threatened. The appropriate agency issues an alert, similar to the widespread Ozone Action Day alerts.
Go to Regulations.gov to search for EPA regulations and related documents.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Bans during “Spare the Air Tonight” advisories. Proposed new requirements for new construction (only pellet stoves, gas stoves, and EPA-certified wood stoves can be sold). Labeling required for firewood, firelogs, and wood pellets sold.
Winter Advisory/No Burn Program from October through February restricting use of non-EPA certified fireplaces or stoves.
Mandatory bans on "red" advisory days during the annual high air pollution season, with some exceptions.
Voluntary curtailment of wood stove use for heat based on daily advisories.
Air-quality burn bans temporarily restrict some or all indoor and outdoor burning, usually called when weather conditions are cold and still.
San Joaquin County, CA
Existing wood stoves must be replaced with an EPA certified wood stove when a home is sold. Only pellet stoves, gas stoves, and EPA-certified wood stoves can be sold. Wood-burning limited on days when air pollution approaches unhealthy levels. Limits on the number of wood stoves or fireplaces that can be installed in new residential units.
Santa Clara County and The City of Palo Alto,
Burn bans: Stage 1, use only certified stoves; Stage 2, use wood stove only if it's the primary heat source. Have banned the installation of new wood-burning stoves or fireplaces.
Yolo-Solano AQMD has initiated "Don't Light Tonight" - a voluntary program to encourage residents not to use wood stoves and fireplaces when air pollution approaches unhealthy levels. The district also encourages cleaner burning techniques and switching to cleaner burning technology.
State Action - Laws, Fees and Taxes
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment posts wood-burning advisories on its website. During red advisories, mandatory residential burning restrictions generally apply to everyone in the 7-county Denver-Boulder metro area below 7,000 feet. There are exceptions for those who use Colorado Phase III (Phase II EPA) certified wood-burning stoves, state-approved pellet stoves, approved masonry heaters or those whose stoves or fireplaces are their primary source of heat.
The state of Idaho offers taxpayers who buy new wood stoves, pellet stoves, or natural gas or propane heating units for their residences a tax deduction to replace old, uncertified wood stoves.
Michigan's Model Ordinance for Outdoor and Open Burning (PDF) (21pp, 306K) - contains provisions and optional provisions that Michigan municipalities can "pick and choose" from
The state of Montana offers an Alternative Energy Systems Credit against income tax liability for the cost of purchasing and installing an energy system in a Montana resident’s principal home that uses " . . . a low emission wood or biomass combustion device such as a pellet or wood stove."
Utah has a “Red Light, Green Light” program to curtail wood-burning along the Wasatch Front during winter inversions. RED: No residential/commercial burning. The Division of Air Quality staff inspect the valleys for smoke coming from chimneys. The staff also investigate complaints made to the Division. Offenders are ticketed, and fines may be levied. First-time offenders face a fine of $25; second-time offenders pay $50 to $140; and third-time offenders face fines from $150 to $299. YELLOW: reduce burning; GREEN (clearing index high): burning allowed.
The state of Washington has established wood stove emission performance standards that are more stringent than the federal rule. In addition, the state of Washington assesses a flat fee on the sale of every wood-burning device to fund the education of citizens about wood smoke health and air quality impacts and the benefits of cleaner burning wood stoves.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Model Ordinance - contains suggestions and options for local governments to regulate open burning at the local level
Vermont has compiled a state listing of regulatory action for hydronic heaters.
NESCAUM Model Rule - model rule that state and local agencies can use to regulate hydronic heater emissions
Examples of Outdoor Furnace Codes - provides samples of local codes for municipalities, including information like setback restrictions, stack locations, and restrictions on types of fuel
NSPS for Residential Wood Heaters (1988) (PDF) (19pp, 175k) - Performance Standards for New Residential Wood Heaters
NSPS for Residential Wood Heaters Amendments (1996) (PDF) (32pp, 45k) - Amendments included to ensure that wood heaters that should not have been originally certified due to an invalid certification test are not sold to consumers.
Area Source Rule for Small Industrial, Commercial or Institutional Boilers
- Briefing Paper, January 29, 2009 (PDF) (3pp, 30k)
- Outreach Meeting Presentation, February 10. 2009 (PDF) (19pp, 182k)
- Control Cost Summary, January 23, 2009 (PDF) (5pp, 55k)
- Preliminary Economic Impacts Outline, December 4, 2008 (Excel Spreadsheet) (600k)
New Source Performance Standards for Residential Wood Heaters
EPA is in the process of developing revisions to the residential wood heater new source performance standards under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. In addition to tightening the emission limits on currently regulated wood heaters to reflect improvements in best demonstrated technology, EPA anticipates new regulations for other residential devices that use solid biomass as fuel. For example, EPA anticipates new regulations for outdoor and indoor hydronic heaters and forced air furnaces. EPA anticipates proposing the revisions and the new regulations by Summer 2012.
- Residential Wood Heaters NSPS Draft Proposal Update (Mar 22, 2013) (PDF) (13pp, 111k)
- Environmental Justice Community Outreach Call (March 9, 2011) (PDF) (24pp, 729k)
- NSPS: An Overview (Dec 8, 2011) (PDF) (12pp, 49k)
- Draft Options Being Considered for NSPS (Feb 15, 2011) (PDF) (3pp, 26k)
- Draft Review Document (2009) (PDF) (86p,816k)
- Staff Recommendations (2009) (PDF) (9pp, 44k)
- Small Business Panel on Revising Standards for New Residential Wood Heaters and Other Devices
- Draft Proposed Rule – NSPS for New Residential Wood Heaters - Webinar on February 9 at 2:00 ET