EPA Wants to Snuff out Wood and Pellet Stoves

By:  Bob Adelmann
03/05/2014
       
EPA Wants to Snuff out Wood and Pellet Stoves

New EPA rules limiting airborne particulate emissions could virtually end the burning of wood for heat or cooking in the United States.

It took more than six weeks before the new EPA rules on wood and pellet stoves percolated into the media, which then generated pushback ranging from anger to outrage.

The new rules impose a maximum of fine airborne particulate emissions from 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air down to 12. As Larry Bell, writing at Forbes, put it:

To put this amount in context ... secondhand tobacco smoke in a closed-car can expose a person to 3,000-4,000 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter.

That will virtually end the burning of wood for heat or cooking in the United States, according to Reg Kelly, the owner and operator of Earth Outdoor Furnaces in Mountain Grove, Missouri: “There’s not a stove in the United States that can pass the test right now — this is the death knell of any wood burning.”

The pushback is political as well. Rep. Tim Remole (R-Mo.) happens to have a wood stove in his rural Missouri home, and is encouraging lawmakers in his state to declare that “All Missourians have a right to heat their homes and businesses using wood burning furnaces, stoves, fireplaces and heaters.” Legislation was introduced to ban Missouri’s environmental officials from regulating wood heaters unless specifically authorized by the state’s legislature.

Why doesn’t this work on the national level? Why doesn’t the legislative branch — the Congress — put the blocks to the EPA when it so clearly oversteps its bounds?

The simple answer is that it is guilty of approving President Nixon’s executive order back in 1970 which established the EPA in the first place. The fact that executive orders are nowhere mentioned in the republic’s founding document makes Nixon’s order unconstitutional on its face. As explained by John Contrubis, a legislative attorney in the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service,

There is no exact meaning [of executive orders] since neither the Framers of the Constitution nor Congress defined executive orders or proclamations....

As executive orders and proclamations are not defined in the Constitution, there is also no specific provision in the Constitution authorizing the President to issue executive orders.

The House itself agreed. It called executive orders like the one that Nixon issued illegal and nonbinding:

The President has no power or authority over individual citizens and their rights except where he is granted such power and authority by a provision in the Constitution or by statute.

The President’s proclamations are not legally binding and are at best hortatory unless based on such grants of authority.

For the House to put an end to the EPA monster it would have to repudiate its initial acceptance of the EPA as legitimate, admit that executive orders are nonbinding, and reverse years and decades of acceptance and obeisance.

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