Gas Logs Saved! Court Rules In Our Favor.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) and its Gas Logs and Fireplace manufacturing members in their lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy in a ruling released today. (Read the full text: DC Court of Appeals Ruling)
Industry had challenged two Final Rules issued by DOE in 2011 that imposed severe restrictions on Vented Decorative Hearth products and which would have greatly altered their appearance, performance and, ultimately, their appeal to consumers, all in a negative way. We filed a lawsuit to protect our interests while attempting to negotiate an outcome that would have been more beneficial to all parties.
In late 2011 we were able to convince DOE to remove gas logs from their rules regarding eliminating standing pilots and other restrictions. However, DOE kept the door open for future regulation by defining gas logs as “Vented Hearth Heaters.” Other provisions regarding Vented Decorative Fireplaces were to take effect on April 16, 2013, and would have except for this ruling, as negotiations had gone nowhere.
This ruling by the DC Court of Appeals appears to have closed that door by throwing out the regulatory definition of “Vented Hearth Heater” and by invalidating the two DOE Final Rules issued in 2011. However, government being what it is in this era of over-reaching regulation, DOE may still appeal this ruling, or respond with new regulations. We will remain ever vigilant in responding to any further attempts by DOE to impose regulations that are beyond their regulatory jurisdiction, or which do not serve the public or industry.
But today, we are thankful for the reprieve afforded by this ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.