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Decorative fireplaces win a court fight

BY Ken Clark

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled today in favor of an appeal filed by the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) challenging DOE’s recent actions to regulate decorative hearth products. The Court ordered that “the entire statutory definition of ‘Vented Hearth Heater’ be vacated, and remanded the definition to DOE to interpret the challenged provisions in accordance with the Court’s opinion. 

Rick Roldan, president and CEO of NPGA stated: “If left unchallenged, the effect of the DOE rules would have eliminated entire product lines of decorative gas fireplaces and decorative gas log sets that would no longer be available to home builders or homeowners. Additionally, the rules unfairly targeted the small businesses comprising the propane industry and would have resulted in a more than $20 million loss for our industry.”

The Court also rejected DOE’s notion that these products could be regulated by establishing exclusion criteria, including a ban on standing pilot lights. This equated to imposing a design standard on the industry, and the Court ruled that DOE does not have the statutory authority to do so in this circumstance. 

The decision strikes down onerous regulatory requirements imposed by the two DOE Final Rules affecting vented gas fireplaces, and gas log sets (75 Fed. Reg. 20112 and 76 Fed. Reg. 71836). The ruling culminates a nearly two-year battle of the propane and hearth product industries with DOE on the agency’s ruling of vented gas hearth products.

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Industry Dashboard for Feb. 11, 2013

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Tractor Supply and Lowe’s pace the monthly gainers on the Home Channel Stock Roundup. Elsewhere on the Dashboard, gas prices perk up.

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Lowe’s officially proposes Cape Cod store

BY Ken Clark

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s formally announced its plans to build a home improvement store in Dennis, Mass., while at the same time unveiling a website promoting the store’s virtues. 

The proposed store is smaller than Lowe’s standard prototype, which, according to the retailer reflects its efforts to submit a design that best serves Dennis and Cape Cod customers and also fits within the community character of the area.

The idea of a Lowe’s store in Dennis has been around Cape Cod for several months, and even sparked a public hearing in November. Local opinion about the development project was mixed.

The nearest Lowe’s to Cape Cod is in Wareham on mainland Massachusetts. A Home Depot already operates on the lower arm of Cape Cod in Hyannis. 

The proposed Lowe’s store would include less than 100,000 sq. ft. with an adjacent garden center of approximately 28,000 sq. ft.. It would be the smallest Lowe’s store in New England. Another figure Lowe’s promotes is the creation of 130 to 170 full and part time jobs.

Public hearings will be scheduled before the Cape Cod Commission in early 2013.

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