Court Preserves Homeowner Choice in Fireplace Case
Department of Energy (DOE) Overturned in Decorative Fireplace Ruling
Washington, DC (February 8, 2013) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled today in favor of an appeal filed by the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) challenging DOE’s recent actions to regulate decorative hearth products. The Court ordered that “the entire statutory definition of ‘Vented Hearth Heater’ be vacated, and remanded the definition to DOE to interpret the challenged provisions in accordance with the Court’s opinion."
Rick Roldan, President and CEO of NPGA stated, “If left unchallenged, the effect of the DOE rules would have eliminated entire product lines of decorative gas fireplaces and decorative gas log sets that would no longer be available to homebuilders or homeowners. Additionally, the rules unfairly targeted the small businesses comprising the propane industry and would have resulted in a more than $20 million loss for our industry.”
The Court also rejected DOE’s notion that these products could be regulated by establishing exclusion criteria, including a ban on standing pilot lights. This equated to imposing a design standard on the industry, and the Court ruled that DOE does not have the statutory authority to do so in this circumstance.
The decision strikes down onerous regulatory requirements imposed by the two DOE Final Rules affecting vented gas fireplaces, and gas log sets (75 Fed. Reg. 20112 and 76 Fed. Reg. 71836). The ruling culminates a nearly two-year battle of the propane and hearth product industries with DOE on the agency’s ruling of vented gas hearth products.
About the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) The National Propane Gas Association is the national trade association of the propane industry. NPGA represents approximately 3,000 companies, including producers, wholesalers, transporters, and retailers of propane gas as well as the manufacturers and distributors of associated propane equipment and appliances. 50 million Americans choose propane as their energy source. Propane is a clean-burning, efficient and climate-friendly alternative fuel that is available now. For more information about NPGA and the propane gas industry, visit NPGA online at www.npga.org.
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