December 14, 2018 

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

From the Director’s Desk – NSPS Rule Published, No Decision on Key Pellet Fuel Component

On Monday, December 17 past board chairman Stephen Faehner will participate in a public hearing to offer official comments from the Pellet Fuels Institute regarding the recently published proposed amendments to the New Source Performance Standards. Stephen’s testimony is the latest chapter in the long, drawn-out process that often defines federal rulemaking. To recap, the NSPS is a piece of air quality regulation underpinned by the Clean Air Act that directly impacts home heating appliances and the fuels they utilize. In late November, the EPA released its proposed amendments as well as an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking. The PFI has been closely tracking two pieces of the NSPS regulation. First is the inclusion of minimum pellet fuel requirements currently included in the rule. The second, more acutely felt by our members and partners in the appliance manufacturing and retail space are the sell-through provisions for appliances that do not currently meet the emissions requirements. These sell-through provisions would give retailers and stove manufacturers more time to liquidate the inventory they have on hand that either does not meet the 2020 emissions limits (2.0 grams/hr) or have not yet been certified to the limits under the new testing protocols.

The proposed amendments included the EPA's decision on the sell-through provisions, but included no decision on minimum pellet fuel requirements, our number one issue with the regulation. I and our executive board have had several conversations with our legal counsel in DC and our position regarding the minimum pellet fuel requirements remains unchanged. The PFI believes wholeheartedly in quality standards that provide consumers with a tool to help them select high-quality wood pellets in the marketplace. Still, their inclusion in a piece of federal regulation is unnecessary and unlikely to advance the aims of the regulation. For me, the most compelling reason for the PFI to oppose this inclusion is that it would set pellets apart from other solid wood fuels (cordwood, wood chips), requiring the manufacturers of wood pellets to jump through hoops that competing fuel types do not. Further, once requirements are codified in federal law they become more difficult to change or amend. The years-long process we’ve been enduring regarding the initial NSPS rule is case in point. As I think about it, it occurs to me that the reason that minimum pellet fuel requirements were included at all is simply that there are specifications with wood pellets that can be measured. Still, that is not a good enough reason to drive them into a piece of federal regulation introducing a compliance burden onto the manufacturers of an engineered densified wood fuel product that prides itself on being a part of the air quality solution, not a contributor to the problem.

It does not appear that the hearing will be available via a dial-in platform, but information regarding the hearing can be found here

- Tim Portz
Executive Director

Photo of the Week - Energex

We're building a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills and product. Send them to Carrie Annand at [email protected]. This week’s featured photo is from Kenny Lisle with Energex.   

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Industry News

$650 Rebate Available for Wood, Pellet Stoves 
Stowe Reporter, Vermont

The mountain pine beetle has devastated one-fifth of Colorado forestland over the past couple of decades, but the lumber and alternative energy industries have been able to make good use of the wood from these blighted forests.

Read Full Article

Wood Stoves and Pellet Stoves Bring New Efficiency  
27 East, New York

As I noted in last week’s column, burning wood in a fireplace can be nice and cozy if you’re near the fire, but you also might notice that the same wood fire can make the rest of the house noticeably colder, as the fire tries to bring in outside air so combustion can take place. The open fire itself makes a fireplace innately inefficient and environmentally unacceptable because of the amount of pollution it creates. There are other ways to enjoy indoor fires, though, and some can do this without a loss of efficiency.

Read Full Article

Wood: Vermont’s Locally Grown, Renewable Fuel 
Vermont Biz

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We hope everyone in the PFI family has a wonderful holiday season. 

Pellet Fuels Institute

[email protected] | (206) 209-5277 |