Wednesday, October 24, 2012

TO:         HPBA Members
FROM: Rich Ali
               Director of Government Affairs
RE:        HPBA DOE Legislative Update
DATE: October 24, 2012

HPBA Members:

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation (H.R. 6578) that would define in federal law “decorative hearth products.” Sponsored by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and John Kline (R-MN), H.R. 6578 would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act by defining decorative hearth products as gas fireplaces, stoves, fireplace inserts and gas log sets that are not designed or intended to produce heat. The legislation would clearly distinguish decorative products from heater-rated products, clarifying that decorative products are not “direct heating equipment” (DHE). This new statutory definition would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to prepare and apply appropriate regulations for these decorative products.

Under current law, decorative hearth products are regulated as heater-rated appliances, or DHE. Since decorative hearth products are not designed to produce heat, they should not be subject to the same standards as hot water heaters, furnaces, and space heaters. The introduction of H.R. 6578 is intended to correct recent DOE regulations that incorrectly classify decorative hearth products as DHE and apply inappropriate standards to these products as a result. These inappropriate regulations will become effective next year and could threaten the viability of the small businesses that comprise HPBA’s membership. While a positive verdict in HPBA’s lawsuit against the DOE would stop implementation of the rules, enactment of H.R. 6578 would permanently solve the problem.

In the coming weeks we will be asking for your help in reaching out to your Members of Congress, encouraging them to support this legislation as a cosponsor. Please feel free to contact me ( with any questions or concerns.