AG Rosenblum Sues EPA for Failure to Failing to Act on Wood Stove Emissions

September 27, 2023
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Oregon is joining Alaska, New York, and seven other states in suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to take timely action to on regulating wood stove emissions.

“This is a serious public health, environmental, and consumer protection issue all wrapped into one!” said AG Rosenblum. “The science is clear: wood heaters in Oregon are a major source of particulate-matter pollution, which is harmful to our health. The EPA needs to do what they said they would 8 years ago: review and, if need be, revise their standards.”

Wood stoves are the main reason why areas like Oak Ridge and Klamath Falls are deemed “non-attainment areas,” or areas that continue to fall short of National Ambient Air Quality standards. The EPA last adopted such standards in 2015 – in response to another lawsuit by Oregon and other states. The Clean Air Act requires EPA, at least every eight years, to review and, if appropriate, revise those performance standards, unless it determines that such a review is not appropriate in light of readily available information on the efficacy of the standards (a determination EPA has not made here).

Not only is EPA delinquent in pursuing new standards; it is likely that many wood stoves have been sold that do not meet the 2015 standards, because EPA has allowed manufacturers to sell stoves without adequate testing to see if they comply.

As the Complaint states, EPA’s own Inspector General’s Office found that “EPA’s residential wood heater program does not provide reasonable assurance that wood heaters are properly tested and certified before reaching consumers.”

The Complaint, which was filed in the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., explains that, “although it has some intermediate goals, EPA has stated that it does not plan to finalize a new [standard] for residential wood heaters until November 30, 2027—more than 12 years after the 2015 NSPS. Moreover, EPA asserts that the November 30, 2027 date is only aspirational, as EPA “do[es] not have hard deadlines for reaching these milestones[.]””