NEHPBA Urges Gov. Charlie Baker to Fix Deeply Flawed Climate Change Legislation
The Northeast Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association backs Gov. Baker’s position that S. 9 is based on ‘flawed analysis’ and creates prohibitive costs for energy users
Sudbury, MA – The Northeast Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) today urged Gov. Charlie Baker’s to fix a deeply ‘flawed’ climate change bill that would raise costs prohibitively for energy users and eliminate the use of natural gas and home heating oil.
The trade association represents more than 300 retailers and service providers that specialize in wood-burning home heating systems, chimneys and hearths and also service natural gas systems and equipment. NEHPBA – on behalf of its members and millions of consumers – is urging Baker to make significant amendments to the bill, now numbered S. 9.
“In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we have over 60 member-companies supporting 350 families: the vast majority of them are independent “mom and pop” small businesses who are significant community contributors in the markets they serve across the Commonwealth,” said Joel Etter, President of NEHPBA and Senior Wholesale Account Manager for Hearth & Home Technologies out of Brockton, MA. “The elimination of gas in new construction will immediately put our member retailers and the associate businesses related to them (chimney sweeps and installers) out of business.”
NEHPBA recognizes the changing landscape of the energy and fossil fuel industry. Its members and leadership are committed to working with government officials and regulators at all levels to increase access to more sustainable and climate-centric fuel sources throughout our homes and businesses. However, moving immediately to a Net Zero model could result in skyrocketing electric rates and potentially inhibit access to more affordable sources of fuel and power—negatively affecting the most vulnerable among us.
“We strongly agree with the observations made in both the Governor’s original veto language to S. 9. as well as comments made by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Theoharides, citing both the prohibitive costs and flawed analysis in the climate legislation approved by the General Court,” said Karen Luther, Executive Director of NEHPBA. “In particular, we agree with the Administration’s assessment that the elimination of home heating oil would be particularly burdensome and expensive to taxpayers. Governor Baker rightly vetoed the original version of this deeply flawed legislation in January. Now he has the opportunity to insist on critical changes that will protect small businesses, consumers and households across the Commonwealth.”
Among the problems NEHPBA has identified with S. 9:
- NEHPBA opposes the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to have consultative powers on the building code. By allowing the DOER to consult on building code, Massachusetts would essentially be allowing the building code to become an energy code.
- NEHPBA opposes the mandated replacement of systems that use fossil fuels. Already this season we have had two power outages that have had homeowners relying on gas and wood heat. Additionally, the elimination of fossil fuels would eliminate the last of the mom and pop, family owned small business in this state. The new jobs created are not transferrable and would not be available to these business owners who rely on the sales and installation of gas and wood fueled heating and decorative appliances.
- NEHPBA is concerned on multiple levels about the hyper-focus on electric heat through heat pumps. Currently, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 50.6 percent of homes (1.3 million individual households) heat with natural gas; and 27 percent (700,000+ households) heat with oil. Allowing homeowners energy choice and energy diversity is important in the northeast where power outages as a result of winter weather are very common. Heat pumps lose efficiency once temperatures dip below 40 degrees and are no longer the most efficient heating option once temperatures fall to 25 to 30 degrees.
NEHPBA and the entire industry are working together with other businesses as well as consumers to ensure that a range of energy choices continue to be available in the Northeast – that includes natural gas, propane and oil heat systems as well as wood-burning appliances.
About the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
Since 1985, the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) has represented the interests of the hearth industry in the Northeast. NEHPBA was originally incorporated in January 1985 as the Northeast Solid Fuel Alliance (NESFA) in recognition of the unique demands of business in the Northeast. In June of 1992, NESFA members voted to become the first affiliated member of the national Hearth Products Association (HPA) and became the Northeast Hearth Products Association (NEHPA). In 2002, NEHPA became the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) in conjunction with the merger of the national HPA with the Barbecue Industry Association to become the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), thus recognizing the diversification of the modern industry. The NEHPBA name has remained since 2002.
Karen L. Luther – NEHPBA
Cosmo Macero Jr. – Seven Letter