Bill from Sen. Casperson would be pre-emptive strike against federal regulations
Legislation aimed at preventing enforcement of potential federal limits on woodstove emissions has been introduced in the Michigan legislature.
Senate Bill 910, which was introduced on April 24 by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, would prohibit the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality from imposing new state regulations limiting emissions from woodstoves and heaters, or enforcing federal regulations that do so.
In January, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed rule changes that would dramatically tighten emissions requirements on new wood-powered heaters.
"We believe environmental groups are really the ones behind those who have told the EPA they have concerns about wood boilers in several states on the East Coast," Sen. Casperson said. "Too often, the environmental groups actually work hand-in-hand with the EPA on these kinds of frivolous regulations. The complaints on the East Coast can become an excuse to take action and create rules that allow government to increasingly control what people do."
Sen. Casperson pointed out that this winter had people relying on their woodstoves more than ever.
"Just look at the kind of winter we just had. It was brutal," he said. "Many people in the U.P. relied on their woodstoves, and here we've got the EPA talking about doing something like this. Imagine how much harder it would be for people to get through another tough winter with these new regulations and limits.
"Our legislation makes it clear that we disagree with what the EPA is talking about doing," Sen. Casperson said. "We know at the state level that we can't control the EPA, but with this (the bill) we're trying to get ahead of the issue by setting it out that the DEQ can't adopt these kinds of regulations or enforce them. That way we will have at least set the tone if the feds do try to step in. We've seen Missouri do something like this and I think this is what we need to do now in the state of Michigan."
Andrew Meglashen, of the Michigan Environmental Council, said the organization he represents opposes Senate Bill 910.
"The Michigan Environmental Council opposes Senate Bill 910, which could result in residents of Michigan being deprived of their right to the reasonable use and enjoyment of their private property," Meglashen said. "Clean air to breathe is a basic need, which should be protected by both state and federal officials."
Senate Bill 910 is in the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Casperson.