Over the next few months, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to roll out new restrictions on residential wood heaters, pellet stoves, and wood burning stoves. Missoula County Air Quality specialist Benjamin Schmidt says the change won’t apply to stoves already in people’s homes.

"The first thing people have to understand, is that it doesn't affect any existing wood stoves or any solid-fuel burning device of any kind, if it has already been sold and installed these rules do not apply to that," Schmidt said. "What we are looking at is future appliances that would be sold at the retail level."

Schmidt says the new standards are higher than what Missoula already enforces, but won't affect Missoulians a great deal.

In Missoula County, this specific rule will have minimal impact," Schmidt said. "For instance we already have a rule in Missoula County that if you have a solid fuel burning device it has to be EPA certified and maximum emissions are at 7.5 grams per hour. Now, there is going to be a phased in approach to this rule and, at least at the very beginning, I believe the standard is going to be at 5.5 grams per hour."

Senator Steve Daines signaled opposition to the new regulations last Wednesday, February 5, saying that they were “a direct threat to Montanan’s access to affordable energy” and that they would lead to 45.7 million dollars in compliance costs.


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