HPBA Board Meeting

Rett Rasmussen attended the Board Meeting for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association on July 19 in Salt Lake City, UT. The Board traditionally has its summer meeting at the site of the next Expo, which will be in Salt Lake City March 5-8, 2014 in Salt Lake City. In an effort to improve both exhibitor and attendee participation in the Expo, the Board voted to flatten the exhibitor rates to just Member and Non-Member pricing (from six different rates), and to reduce the Non-Member Attendee cost to $75 from $150. The Expo accounts for 70% of the revenue of HPBA, and with all of the fights HPBA has been leading against government regulation of various facets of our industry, we need as much revenue as possible. The Expo and Membership committees were tasked with resolving competing interests in further reducing the cost for attendees for future shows while not losing out on Affiliate memberships, who are primarily Retailers.

Because of a changes made by EPA, the Board voted to increase the cap on funds dedicated to addressing the NSPS (New Source Performance Standards governing wood burning emissions) to $685,000 from $235,000.

The Board voted to investigate naming Operation BBQ Relief as a “signature charity” of the HPBA. Learn about the good works they have done at http://operationbbqrelief.org

As you may know, the DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of HPBA in our case against the US Department of Energy over gas fireplaces, standing pilots, etc. The court victory significantly limited the regulatory options available to DOE. Given their loss in court, their decision not to appeal and the effects of sequestration on the department, it is difficult to determine DOE’s next steps. HPBA is moving forward proactively, however, with legislation to provide clarity in the definitions of “Vented Hearth Heaters” and “decorative hearth products”, and statutory clarification that DOE may not regulate decorative hearth products. Representative Mike Pompeo, 4th District from Kansas, has stepped up to sponsor the legislation. Stay tuned for what you can do to help push this through Congress.

The Board toured the Salt Palace Convention Center. The Outdoor Burn Area for next year’s Expo will be in an adjacent parking lot, the same location as at the 2006 Expo. The headquarters hotel will be the Marriott at Salt Creek. Opened in 2012 directly across the street from the Salt Place, Salt Creek is two-block shopping center of upscale retailers, restaurants and a food court. Staff is determining whether the industry party will be held in the Salt Palace or in an off-site location. They are also working with the convention bureau on skiing and other packages that could be tacked on to the beginning or end of the Expo dates.

The strength of any organization is in its members, and HPBA needs to grow its membership in order to continue the leadership role it has taken in fighting the threats to our industry that continue to pop up. If you sell gas or wood hearth products, you are benefiting from HPBA’s advocacy, and can show your support through your membership (see http://bit.ly/join-hpba to join or renew). Rasmussen is a pioneer member of HPBA, having joined the original Wood Heating Alliance (as HPBA was known then) when it first started in 1980. We know we can’t do it alone, and don’t believe it is proper to ride free on the backs of others, so we continue to renew our membership each year.