Tiegs On A Voluntary Fireplace Standard

8/20/99

We have been digging deep into a range of standards development matters as part of our accreditation programs. As something the HPA should be very interested in, we have run across OMB Circular A-119, which is a Presidential Policy Order entitled, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities. It's dated 2/10/98 and can be found in total at http://web.ansi.org/public/news/1998may/a119_2.html.

The Presidential Policy Order REQUIRES Federal agencies (e.g. EPA) to participate in the development of consensus standards. The policy also REQUIRES Federal agencies to use the resulting standards and their associated conformity assessment systems; else, the agency must demonstrate good reason for not doing so.

David Menotti would be better qualified to give legal opinion, but it occurred to us that this Order gives HPA the ideal mechanism for developing a Federally enforceable emissions standard for fireplaces. Unlike the Reg Neg process, EPA would be precluded by the Presidential Policy Order form dominating the consensus process or even from exerting undue/disproportionate influence. Form our reading of the Order, we believe that, ultimately, EPA could be compelled to amend the Wood Heater NSPS to adopt by reference a consensus standard on fireplace emissions. At the very least, the consensus fireplace emissions standard could be made viable under the EPAs SIP programs. Better still, we believe that EPA could be compelled to accept third party certified fireplaces, much like code officials accept third party certification for product safety. No EPA certification, but EPA (and subsequently state) acceptance of third party certification of conformance.

Paul Tiegs

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