We initially believed EPA was considering a Direct Final Rule to extend the sell-through for 60 days immediately after May 15, 2020. Based on more recent reports, it appears that EPA is instead publishing a Proposed Rule (which is at the Office of Management and Budget right now). There are conflicting reports on the duration of any proposed sell-through; we will not know the details of the package until it is released by EPA.
Proposed Rules require a comment period and, generally, a public hearing before taking effect. This implies that sell-through relief – if there is any – would come perhaps months after the May 15, 2020 prohibition on sale of Step 1 appliances. As with any Proposed Rule, EPA may ultimately reverse course and not adopt the proposal as a Final Rule.
Going through a traditional notice-and-comment rulemaking means that dealers will not immediately know when, if ever, they will be legally able to sell these products beyond May 15, 2020. As always, we remind members that nothing is binding until a Final Rule is published in the Federal Register; industry should continue to prepare for not being able to legally sell Step 1 products after May 15, 2020. As soon as we have more information, HPBA will inform all members as quickly as possible.
As an alternative, we encourage dealers to consider donating Step 1 freestanding woodstoves to pre-approved non-profit organizations. But act fast; you must submit your donation form to a non-profit BEFORE May 15. On Thursday, May 7, HPBA will launch our Stoves to Homes Initiative. For more information, please contact Rachel Feinstein.