State Agency Says Regulation of Wood Boilers Should Be Legislative Decision
3/17/2010

Causer, Rapp, Gabler call on DEP to withdraw regulations

 

The state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) has weighed in on the proposed regulation of outdoor wood-fired boilers (OWBs) and says the decision is one that should be made by lawmakers, not regulators.

 

According to comments IRRC submitted to the state’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) Monday, “the regulation of OWBs on a statewide scale is a policy decision of such a substantial nature that it requires legislative review...Since regulations have the full force and effect of law, we believe any decision pertaining to the use of OWBs should be made by the elected officials of the legislative branch of government that represent all geographic regions of the Commonwealth.”

 

Reps. Martin Causer, Kathy Rapp and Matt Gabler applaud the IRRC opinion and say it is just one more piece of evidence that should convince the Department of Environmental Protection to reject the proposed regulations.

 

“I have stated from the beginning that I do not believe the state should be involved in the regulation of wood-fired boilers. Local governments already have that authority, and they impose regulations where they are needed,” Causer said. “I too believe EQB overstepped its bounds with this proposal and have introduced legislation that will require legislative action on all future regulations proposed by the board.”

 

“Again, at a time when almost all Pennsylvanians are struggling with higher energy bills and the harmful effects of the international economic recession, the DEP’s new wood boiler regulations have little to do with environmental protection and will amount to nothing more than kicking hard-working people while they’re down,” Rapp said. “In terms of job creation, economic recovery and achieving Pennsylvania’s energy independence from non-renewable foreign imports, these overkill regulations should not just be sent back to the drawing board, but scrapped entirely.”

  

“I don't believe the Department of Environmental Protection has any business trying to enact a one-size-fits-all policy for the entire Commonwealth,” said Gabler. “This is a classic case of state government overstepping its bounds in taking on this issue. A one-size-fits-all approach wouldn’t even work in my own district, let alone an approach that treats us the same as the City of Philadelphia.”

 

Under the proposed regulations:

 

  • A person may not purchase, sell, offer for sale, distribute or install a boiler unless it meets Phase 2 standards for efficiency.
  • New boilers must be installed at least a minimum of 150 feet from the nearest property line.
  • New boilers must have a permanently attached stack that must be at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet of the boiler.
  • Existing boilers must also have a permanently attached stack that is at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the boiler.
  • Only clean wood, wood pellets made from clean wood and certain home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels can be used in the boilers.

DEP must now take into consideration the IRRC comments, as well as those from the public and from lawmakers. The agency will then decide whether to keep the regulation as it is, revise it or withdraw it completely.

 

IRRC was created in 1982 to review Commonwealth agency regulations to ensure that they are in the public interest, that the agency has the statutory authority to enact the regulation and determine whether it is consistent with legislative intent.

 

Rep. Martin T. Causer
67th District

Rep. Matt Gabler

75th District

Rep. Kathy Rapp
65th District

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Patricia A. Hippler

House Republican Public Relations

(717) 772-9846

PAHouseGOP.com

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