RALEIGH, N.C. (Apr. 27, 2015) A bill that would prohibit North Carolina from assisting in the enforcement of certain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules pertaining to the use of wood-burning stoves and heaters passed in the state Senate last Thursday with a 40-9 vote.

Introduced by Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake), Sen. Jim Davis (R-Cherokee), and Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Madison) along with seven co-sponsors in March, Senate Bill 303 (SB303) would prevent state-level enforcement of recently-passed EPA rules that would impose a maximum particulate cap on new wood-powered heaters.

The bill reads, in part:

Neither the Commission nor the Department shall enforce any federal air emissions standard adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency after May 1, 2014, that would jeopardize the health, safety, or economic well‑being of a citizen of this State through the regulation of fuel combustion that is used directly or indirectly to provide hot water or comfort heating to a residence or comfort heating to a business.

“The EPA has drafted over 300 pages of regulations for wood stoves and heaters” Sen. Barefoot said in a WRAL report about the legislation. “No longer is the state going to be on autopilot for what the EPA is cramming down upon us.”

While the legislation wouldn’t stop EPA enforcement, it would ensure state agencies do not cooperate with the regulation. Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center said this would go a long way toward nullifying the regulations.

“The EPA simply doesn’t have the resources to patrol the entire state of North Carolina and ensure that every wood burning stove is in compliance. It would depend on state help, as the feds do with virtually all of their actions. This bill would ensure the state of does not cooperate with unconstitutional EPA actions,” he said.


SB303 rests upon a firm legal basis with Supreme Court rulings spanning nearly 200 years backing its legitimacy.

Refusing to participate with federal enforcement is not just an effective method, it has also been sanctioned by the Supreme Court in a number of major cases, dating from 1842.

The 1997 case, Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. In it, Justice Scalia held:

The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.

As noted Georgetown Law Constitutional Scholar Randy Barnett has said, “This line of cases is now … considered well settled.”

The bill passed through the state Senate successfully on April 23 with a 40-9 vote. The state House will have to concur with the state Senate’s decision for the bill can be put on the Governor’s desk.


For North Carolina: Call your state House representative, and urge them to support and co-sponsor SB303. You can find their information at THIS LINK.

For other states: Call your state legislators, and urge them to introduce a bill that denies support and compliance to unlawful EPA mandates. You can find their information at this link.

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