Past PFI Chair Stephen Faehner testifies at EPA NSPS hearing

By Pellet Fuels Institute | December 17, 2018

On Dec. 17, past Pellet Fuels Institute and American Wood Fiber President and CEO Stephen Faehner testified at a public hearing regarding the recently proposed amendments and call for comments on the Standards of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters, New Residential Hydronic Heaters and Forced-Air Furnaces.

Faehner joined representatives from the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, state and federal regulatory agencies and stove manufacturers as the EPA seeks oral and written commentary on the proposed amendments. In his testimony, Faehner once again established the PFI’s opposition to the inclusion of minimum pellet fuel requirements within the regulation.

The public hearing was a continuation of a process that has been ongoing since the rule was initially published in February 2015. In his testimony, Faehner reiterated the PFI’s position that the PFI is not opposed to the aims of the Clean Air Act. In his testimony Faehner pointed out that, “pellet fuels offer one of the cleanest burning alternatives in the wood heating sector; they have been used in a number of communities to reduce particulate matter and are often part of wood stove ‘changeout’ programs, designed to spur replacement of older equipment.”

Faehner explained that the PFI’s opposition to the rule is that its inclusion would place a compliance burden upon wood pellet manufacturers that would be unique amongst their peers in the broader wood heat category. Faehner said, “EPA’s current regulations define 34 different requirements for pellet fuel, compared with just seven requirements for chip wood and no specifications at all for cord wood, by far the largest fuel source in the NSPS category. EPA illogically applies the most onerous regulations to the cleanest fuel.”

PFI Executive Director Tim Portz offered that Faehner’s written testimony was a part of a larger effort within the PFI to educate policymakers and regulatory agencies about the challenges of codifying fuel requirements in federal regulations. “Stephen has been a part of this discussion for years and we were happy to have him represent our organization at this hearing,” he said. “The PFI is a strong advocate for pellet fuel standards and have developed one of the most robust standards programs in the world, working in concert with air regulators. We believe standards have a very real place in our industry, but feel strongly that their inclusion in a piece of federal regulation is misguided and unlikely to advance the aims of the Clean Air Act.”

The EPA is accepting written comments on the proposed amendments until Jan. 14.