The hearth industry lobbies all levels of government in opposing clean air legislation


Financial interests of the highly polluting wood burning industry are represented and promoted by the hearth industry’s main lobby organization, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA).  

The HPBA’s website outlines some of the organization’s past and ongoing policies, campaigns, and interventions that advance the interests of business owners, and that discourage lawmakers from introducing much-needed wood burning bans.  

A major part of the HPBA’s pro-wood burning/anti-clean air lobbying effort involves the organization’s ongoing push for having old wood stoves replaced with new ones.  While wood stove exchanges have been widely promoted as a health initiative, this is deceptive, as wood stove-to-wood stove exchanges have nothing to do with protecting public health.  In fact such exchange programs were initiated in 1990 by the HPBA as a business venture, to help boost wood stove sales.  Over the years, many new wood stoves have been installed, often with the use of public funds (which should only incentivize the use of cleaner heating sources).  Despite false or misleading industry claims otherwise, wood stoves are clearly not the answer to the problem of wood smoke pollution.  

This excerpt below from the “Industry Advocacy” section of the HPBA website indicates how the organization aims to keep business interests above clean air and health protection, in the shaping of public opinion, and in the making of public policy:

Industry Advocacy Initiatives

HPBA champions the industry’s interests through lobbying on Capitol Hill, establishing reasonable technical standards, preventing restrictive regulation and policy, facilitating community-based programs, and leading grassroots member efforts.” *

* One of these so-called “grassroots member efforts” is a group, promoted and funded by the HPBA, called “Utahns for Responsible Burning.” The “UFRB” is not a true grassroots group, but one which is actually a project of the HPBA. This HPBA front group (which in 2015 displayed an HPBA copyright notice and an HPBA mailing address at the bottom of its emails), was instrumental in blocking a much-needed ban on winter wood burning in that state.  HPBA documents and media reports show that an industry member and  2014 “graduate” of the HPBA’s “Government Affairs Academy” industry lobbyist training program promoted the wood burning industry at an important pro-clean air rally that was held at the Utah State Capitol, being represented as a spokesperson for the HPBA’s own “Utahns for Responsible Burning” pro-industry project  – another example of a “member effort” led by the HPBA, for the advancement of its members’ business interests.

As the excerpt quoted above continues:

Each of HPBA’s government affairs efforts involves working closely with various key stakeholders to make each initiative a success, whether it be the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or Department of Energy, state governments, or other nonprofits with common interests.”

This April 2017 screen capture from the HPBA website highlights the organization’s current and ongoing campaign that promotes outdoor burning,  The HPBA does a tremendous amount of lobbying aimed at influencing municipal governments to allow harmful practices like outdoor wood burning to continue even in neighbourhood environments, where everyone shares the air.  It is past time for all public officials and decision makers to stop caving to industry pressure, and to instead begin taking a strong, unwavering stand for the full protection of clean air and community health.

Here is another quote from the HPBA website’s “Advocacy Center” page as it appears at the time this writing:

To ensure that your concerns are known and understood by key policymakers, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association advocates for our industries and interests before federal, state and local governments, officials and regulators. HPBA communicates frequently with legislators and closely follows regulatory and legislative activity to promote policies that are favorable to your business.”

This PDF file (linked below) of the HPBA’s “Government Affairs” page as it appeared previously on the HPBA website is even more revealing of how far the organization’s influence on public policy extends:

Government Affairs — Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association

An excerpt from that PDF file is quoted below:

The Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association’s Government Affairs Department works to serve its members’ businesses by advocating the industry’s interests to all levels of government, promoting the industry’s growth, and protecting the industry from restrictive public policies and regulation. HPBA works on pro-industry federal and state legislation and supports HPBA affiliates, especially through local Code Coordinators. We advocate for NFI- trained installers in our industry, work on small business issues, building codes and standards for both the U.S. and Canada, and have been actively promoting wood stove changeout programs in the U.S. and Canada. HPBA Members can access all up to date information through our new member portal, including current New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and Tax Credit updates….

From Capitol Hill to your state legislature, HPBA and its affiliate[s] work to protect and promote the hearth, patio and barbecue industry.”

– From the “Government Affairs” section of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) website as it appeared in August 2014.


Image source: A saved PDF file from the “Government Affairs” section of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) website as it appeared in August 2014.


Similarly, the website of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association Canada (HPBAC)  admits that the purpose of the “Government Affairs Academy” of HPBAC is:

To ensure volunteers, staff and other industry advocates have a practical understanding of the fundamentals of Canadian politics and how to effectively engage politicians and their staff, to advocate HPBAC issues, participate in various governmental processes and confidently navigate the political environment in Canada at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.”


— Further information can be found at the archived material that is linked below, and available here as a PDF (Government Affairs Academy — Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association) in which the organization explains to member businesses the purpose of its “Government Affairs Academy.”  Here is an excerpt from that archived material:

The Government Affairs Academy (GAA) is a biennial conference that has been created and taught by our Government Affairs Department staff. Commencing in 2006, the GAA consists of our members and Affiliate staff who, in solidarity, want to learn how to effectively lobby their elected officials and become agents of change.

The GAA has become one of HPBA’s most anticipated events, as well as the largest event for the Government Affairs Department. Attendees participate in rigorous electives focused on lobbying, initiating grassroots advocacy campaigns, communicating with Congress, learning how to become spokespeople for the hearth industry and promote HPBA’s legislative agenda.”


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It’s helpful to be aware of the aggressively pro-business lobbying activities of the HPBA and HPBAC when considering important questions such as the one raised in a March 2017 editorial  which asks why a polluting industry’s profit-driven motives would ever be given precedence over the protection of clean air and public health:

Editorial: Why did Herbert sign wood-burning bill he admits is flawed? | The Salt Lake Tribune

The Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association’s Government Affairs Department works to serve its members’ businesses by advocating the industry’s interests to all levels of government,

promoting the industry’s growth,

and protecting the industry from restrictive public policies and regulation.”




– The above quote is from the article, “Doctor’s Orders: Wood Burning Hazardous to Your Health”  by Dr. Brian Moench.


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