HPBA Victorious in DOE Lawsuit
On Friday, February 8th, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) and the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) scored a major victory for the vented gas hearth product industry. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with HPBA and NPGA on a Petition for Review filed against two Final Rules issued by the Department of Energy (DOE). The court, finding that DOE exceeded its authority in regulating a new class of products without following required procedure, struck the definition of "vented hearth heater" from the DOE rulemakings.
The decision effectively eliminates onerous regulatory requirements improperly imposed by the two DOE Final Rules affecting vented gas fireplaces, inserts, and gas log sets (75 Fed. Reg. 20112 and 76 Fed. Reg. 71836). The ruling culminates HPBA's two-year battle with DOE and is a huge victory for an industry its size.
Read the court's full decision here.
I just received word from HPBA that the decision is out from the DC Court of Appeals on our industry's challenge, argued before the court on 9/11/12, to the US Department of Energy's 2010 rulemaking. I do not have all of the details yet, but the Court threw out the definition of "Vented Hearth Heater" and remanded the regulation. This means that the DOE's efforts to include Vented Gas Logs in their jurisdiction by terming decorative gas logs as "Vented Hearth Heaters", merely on the basis that they provide some amount of heat, was invalidated by the court.
We had previously successfully convinced DOE to remove gas logs from their rules regarding eliminating standing pilots and other restrictions. However, DOE kept the door open for future regulation by defining gas logs as "Vented Hearth Heaters." This ruling by the DC Court of Appeals appears to have closed that door.
Stay tuned. I will provide more information once the ruling has been formally published and we can perform a thorough analysis. But in the meantime, I wanted to share this news with you so you we could all end our week on a happy note. I will publish information to www.SaveGasLogs.com as it becomes available.
Congratulations! Thanks for keeping posted.
PS: I'm not sure I like the argument that "decorative gas logs" should not be included as "Vented Hearth Heaters", merely on the basis that "they provide some amount of heat."
Gas logs in a Rumford do provide heat - about as much heat as a wood fire in a Rumford. It's the fireplace design that counts, not only for safety and code compliance but for efficiency too.
I welcome the decision not to regulate gas logs. It means we should be able to continue to build Rumford fireplaces in areas that ban wood-burning fireplaces simply by installing gas logs in the Rumfords but it may be a slippery slope to accept "decorative" as opposed to "heater". - Jim
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