Michigan and Wisconsin lawmakers need to follow the lead of the Missouri Legislature.
A committee in the Missouri House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban state environmental officials from regulating wood heaters unless authorized by the legislature.
By doing so, Missouri is one of the first states to introduce legislation in response to proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules that aim to regulate wood-burning stoves.
According to The Associated Press, if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had its way, wood-burning devices would have to reduce emissions by an estimated 80 percent. Wood-stove manufacturers would have five years to meet the new regulations.
"What they're doing is unnecessary, and it comes against our American values and our traditions," Missouri State Rep. Tim Remole told The Associated Press. Remole is a Republican who has a wood stove at his rural Missouri home.
According to the EPA, there are about 12 million wood stoves in U.S. homes, including about 9 million that are less than half as efficient as the newer stoves.
The EPA rules would not affect stoves already in homes.
Still, how many government regulations do we need? What's next, camp fires?
Wood-burning stoves are common throughout the Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin. Folks here have them in camps, garages, workshops and homes.
They offer an affordable way keep warm on these cold winter days. Will the warmth of a wood stove soon become a thing of the past?
The National Firewood Association, based in Duluth, Minn., told The Associated Press some of the pollution from wood-burning stoves could be reduced if people would burn only aged wood rather than wood with too much wet sap.
"A properly burning wood fire - there's virtually no smoke or smell," said Executive Director Scott Salveson.
These new EPA rules would add thousands of dollars to the cost of new wood stoves.
Wood stove manufacturers would likely be out of business.
"This is the death knoll of any wood burning," Reg Kelly, the founder of Earth Outdoor Furnaces in Mountain Grove, told Missouri lawmakers during a recent hearing.
Meanwhile, thousands of acres of forests are scorched in forest fires each year in the U.S. Rather than regulating individual lifestyles, wouldn't the government be better off to focus efforts on preventing and fighting these fires?
There's plenty of negative health effects created during these wood-burning events.
A hearing on the EPA proposal is being held on March 5 in Boston.
We encourage area residents to call on their representatives in Washington and urge them to stop these proposed EPA rules.
Our representatives include:
U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, (906) 828-1581.
U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Hayward, (855) 585-4251.
U.S. Senator Carl Levin, D-Detroit, (202) 224-6221.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, (202) 224-4822.
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, (414) 276-7282.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, (202) 224-5653.