Politics v. Firewood

Saw off branchIn recent years the IRS has allowed a $300 tax credit for the purchase of a new wood stove. This credit expired on Dec. 31, 2013, and is unlikely to be extended for 2014. Why? Because the tax bill was blocked by Senate leaders who would not allow unrelated amendments to be added after the bill had been negotiated in committee.

It’s a complex issue. On one hand it’s good to see that something is being done about last-minute provisions attached to unrelated bills being “snuck in” on the Senate floor in the eleventh hour. On the other hand, it’s effectively a slap in the face to the environment and sustainable energy.

The Alliance for Green Heat emphasizes that any credits for new stoves should be limited to those which are genuinely cleaner and more efficient. The National Firewood Association is on board with that sentiment, but we’re of the opinion that any replacement stove is highly likely to be a significant improvement over the one it is replacing and therefore worth the incentive. Until the dust settles around the issue of the EPAs new wood stove emissions legislation, we will continue to endorse tax credits for any replacement stove. Once we see how that shakes out, the issue of whether to offer incentives only for certain stoves will be more clear. Presumably, any stove for sale meeting these new EPA standards would be clean and efficient by definition.

For the moment, the issue is irrelevant. The tax credit is gone, at least at the federal level. The good news is that more states are beginning to offer incentives for the purchase of a clean burning stove. The Alliance for Green Heat has an excellent state-by-state breakdown available here.