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Musician Pete Seeger sings "Amazing Grace" during a concert celebrating his 90th birthday in New York in this May 3, 2009 file photo. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files) Musician Pete Seeger sings "Amazing Grace" during a concert celebrating his 90th birthday in New York in this May 3, 2009 file photo. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files)  

ANALYSIS: Not even Pete Seeger could have heated his home under new EPA rules

Environmentalists have been mourning the passing of folk singer Pete Seeger, hailing him as a champion of nature and an enemy of pollution. What has gone unmentioned is how new Environmental Protection Agency rules governing wood stoves would have ruined even Seeger’s “granola” lifestyle.

The EPA’s new action bans the production and sale of 80 percent of the wood-burning stoves in America, “the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation’s poorest residents,” reports Forbes. On top of that, EPA wood stove rules are supported by environmentalists!

Even Seeger, folk singer and Stalin apologist, likely would have been unable to heat his log cabin in the winter time. The New York Times reports that about “65 years ago, [Seeger] built a one-room log cabin on a hillside on the town’s edge, hand-hewing the wood, laying down the stone foundation, eventually adding a bedroom for his wife, Toshi, and himself, always splitting the logs for the fireplace and wood stove himself.”

It was from this log cabin that Seeger launched his campaign to clean up the Hudson River, which the Times says was “was suffering death by pollution at the time.”

The EPA’s older wood stove ban was issued earlier this year under the guise of cleaning up air quality. The agency will go from certifying non-catalytic wood stoves if they produce less than 7.5 grams of fine particulate per to only certifying ones that produce 4.5 grams per hour next year when the rule is put into place.

Fine particulate matter is solid particles and liquids that measure 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter. The EPA has been cracking down on fine particulate matter in recent years, which has put costly burdens on communities across the country.

“When these standards are fully implemented, EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to comply with these standards, the American public will see between $118 and $267 in health benefits,” the EPA said. “Consumers will also see a monetary benefit from efficiency improvements in the new wood stoves, which use less wood to heat homes. The total health and economic benefits of the proposed standards are estimated to be at $1.8 (billion) to $2.4 billion annually.”

The EPA gives rosy predictions on the impacts of its new rule, ignoring the costs to millions of Americans. Most wood stoves that warm cabins and homes won’t meet new EPA standards. Older wood stoves can’t even be traded in for new ones and will therefore be scrapped or destroyed — more waste in the name of public health.

The Census Bureau reports that 2.4 million American families (12 percent of homes) use wood as their primary heating source — seven percent depend on fuel oil to heat their homes.

Seeger was actively campaigning to clean up the Hudson River from his wood-heated log cabin during the 1960s. The EPA says that wood stoves made before 1990 are inefficient and produce anywhere from 15 grams to 30 grams of particulate matter per hour — meaning even Seeger, an environmental activist, would have been able to heat his cabin while he was campaigning to clean up the Hudson.

It’s not only the feds that are forcing people to scrap their old stoves and buy new ones, local governments are jumping on the bandwagon as well. The attorneys general of seven states sued the EPA soon after it issued its rules, saying they didn’t go far enough to curb pollution. Environmental activists with the group Earth Justice filed suit on the issue as well.

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