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HPBA applauds decorative hearth products legislation

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association is voicing its support for legislation introduced Oct. 23 by a bipartisan group of U.S. House members that defines "decorative hearth products."

This bill promises to preserve thousands of small business jobs related to the manufacturing and sale of decorative gas fireplaces and gas log sets, according to a release from the HPBA.

Representatives Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and John Kline (R-MN) introduced H.R. 6578, which would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act by defining decorative hearth products as gas fireplaces, stoves, fireplace inserts and gas log sets that are not designed or intended to produce heat. The legislation would clearly distinguish decorative products from heater-rated products, clarifying that decorative products are not "direct heating equipment" (DHE).

Under current law, decorative hearth products are regulated as heater-rated appliances, or DHE. Since decorative hearth products are not designed to produce heat, they should not be subject to the same standards as hot water heaters, furnaces and space heaters, the HPBA states.

Based on the absence of a statutory definition, the release says recent Department of Energy regulations that will become effective next year could threaten the ability of small businesses across the country to continue to manufacture and sell these products. The new statutory definition included in H.R. 6578 would require the DOE to promulgate appropriate regulations for decorative products, which the HPBA says could ensure the preservation of thousands of American jobs.

"The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) and the decorative gas industry are grateful to Representatives McMorris Rodgers, Sanchez and Kline for sponsoring this much needed legislation," said Jack Goldman, president and CEO of HPBA. "We applaud these members of Congress for proposing and supporting a bipartisan and common sense policy solution that will empower small businesses to continue making and selling these extremely popular amenities for the American home."

The HPBA is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of hearth, barbecue and patio appliances, fuels and accessories. The 2,500-member association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising and consumer education.

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