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Woodstove changeout program will bring cleaner heat, cleaner air to Libby, Mont.

Release Date: 6/16/2005
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      Denver -- Residents of Libby, Mont., in Lincoln County will breathe cleaner air thanks to a woodstove changeout campaign established by EPA, the woodstove industry, and state and local governments.
During the next three years, the campaign will replace old, polluting woodstoves with cleaner-burning, EPA-certified woodstoves in the Libby area, which does not meet EPA’s national air quality standards for fine-particle pollution, also known as PM 2.5. Smoke from woodstoves is believed to be the primary source of PM 2.5 emissions in and around Libby.
    “Helping areas of the country reduce pollution and meet national air quality standards for fine particles is our top priority," EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Jeffrey Holmstead said. "By combining local programs like clean woodstove installation with tough new federal regulations on power plants, cars, trucks and diesel equipment, we can dramatically reduce fine particle pollution and improve public health across the country."

    To kick off the Lincoln County Woodstove Changeout, the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association donated more than $1 million to install new, EPA-certified stoves and chimneys free of charge for about 300 lower-income households. EPA, the State of Montana and Lincoln County are providing additional resources as part of the campaign to replace all of the area’s older, polluting woodstoves.

    Researchers estimate that about 80 percent of Lincoln County’s fine particle pollution comes from residential wood smoke from woodstoves, fireplaces and outdoor wood heaters. Fine particles are particles 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less -- about 1/30th the size of the average human hair, or smaller. Exposure to fine particle pollution has been linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma and the development of chronic bronchitis, to heart arrhythmia, heart attacks, and even premature death in people with heart and lung disease.

    The Lincoln County Woodstove Changeout is part of the Great American Woodstove Changeout Campaign, EPA’s national effort to reduce pollution by replacing older woodstoves with cleaner-burning EPA-certified woodstoves, pellet stoves or fireplace inserts, or with electric or gas heating units. In the first year of the campaign, EPA also is supporting changeouts in southwest Pennsylvania, the greater Dayton, Ohio, area and Washoe County, Nevada.

    For more information on clean-burning woodstoves, go to