Hot News
JULY 2020
COVID-19 Updates
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an updated guidance regarding paid leave to employees when a child’s summer camp is closed due to COVID-19. Per the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, eligible employees were entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid leave in the event that a child’s school was forced to close due to COVID-19; the new guidance clarifies that this also applies to summer camps. The updated guidance applies to U.S. companies of fewer than 500 employees. The full announcement is available  here .
 
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has also recently updated its comprehensive FAQ resource. Available  here , the FAQ addresses several employer requirements, including face coverings, disinfecting, return to work considerations, and employee health screening.
Congress Extends PPP
Late last week, President Trump signed the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) extension passed by Congress. Initially set to expire on June 30 th , the extension gives businesses another five weeks – until August 8 th  – to apply for new PPP loans. Reportedly, there is about $130 billion remaining under the program’s authorization. For more on PPP loans and forgiveness, please click below.
HPBA Submits Comments to EPA on Proposed COVID-19 Sell-Through Relief from NSPS Deadlines
On July 6, 2020, HPBA submitted comments to EPA in support of its proposed sell-through package which, if enacted, would provide sell-through for Step 1 products from the date the rulemaking is finalized until November 30, 2020. Unless and until EPA formally adopts the sell-through proposal, it remains illegal to sell or offer for sale all Step 1 products in the U.S.

Almost every business has felt the economic impacts of COVID-19 on its sales, employees, and way of life. Our comments include updates from 77 retailers and distributors on how many Step 1 products they have left since we last surveyed them in March. These comments focused on the effect of state stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns on the ability to sell remaining Step 1 inventory in the two months leading up to the May 15, 2020 deadline. Read HPBA’s comments here .

The EPA held a public hearing on this proposed rule on June 17. Ryan Carroll, John Crouch, and Chairman of the Board Dick Hoffman offered comments. Written versions of their comments can be found on our website . All other comments can be accessed on EPA’s docket under “Browse Comments.” Dozens of retailers and distributors, many of whom are HPBA members, submitted comments in support of the sell-through proposal. Please contact Rachel Feinstein if you have any questions.
More From Government Affairs
HPBA Files Opening Brief in NSPS Litigation
On June 25 th , HPBA filed a legal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in our ongoing litigation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over issues in the 2015 NSPS. When HPBA originally filed its legal challenge to the NSPS in 2015, we expected to raise multiple issues. More recently, the Solid Fuel Hearth Appliance Section, which is funding the litigation effort, decided to focus the court case on a single issue: changes to the 1988 audit testing provisions.

Audit testing is a tool EPA uses to determine model line compliance with emissions limits based on the testing of a limited number of units, rather than requiring each unit to be tested.

The new rule eliminates a key part of the 1988 NSPS – that all audit testing of a wood-burning appliance had to occur at the same laboratory that conducted the original certification testing of that appliance. Today, the EPA can send the unit to any lab – even to a lab that has never tested a wood-burning product. Further, the variability inherent in wood-burning, which was taken into account in the 1988 rule, was eliminated in the new rule. So should the appliance fail, all units of that model must be pulled from commerce in the U.S. Despite comments from HPBA and others, this departure from the earlier audit provision and the problems it would cause was not rectified during the rule-making process.

Based on the agreed-upon briefing schedule and court case load, HPBA expects this appeal process to take many months to be resolved. Anyone with questions can contact John Crouch .
Biomass Stove Tax Credit Included in House Infrastructure Bill
The “INVEST in America Act” (H.R. 2), infrastructure legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 1, contained updates to energy efficiency tax credits, including the biomass stove tax credit. This legislation, however, is not expected to pass the Senate, as there is disagreement between parties on details of the bill. The legislation would extend the credit until 2026, set a new lifetime limit of $1,200, slightly increase the biomass stove tax credit from $300 to $400, and require that eligible products be at least 75 percent efficient per the higher heating value (HHV) of the fuel. HPBA continues to work with the Alliance to Save Energy to double these numbers (i.e., to a $2,400 lifetime limit and $800 tax credit) in light of COVID-19 impacts. Even with the uncertain prospects of Senate action, House passage of the legislation is a significant step forward.

As we enter July, we remind you that the next several weeks are generally the last chance for significant legislative activity until next year. With the November elections quickly approaching, it is important that any active legislative priorities be addressed in the coming weeks. Otherwise, they will be pushed until next year. When the time is right, you will see legislative alerts from HPBA about contacting your elected officials to support the biomass stove tax credit, which is again set to expire on December 31, 2020. Please contact Rachel Feinstein if you have any questions.
USMCA in Effect as of July 1, 2020
At long last, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) went into effect on July 1, 2020. The agreement replaces the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection released final implementation instructions . There are important changes in the rules of origin of the following specific sectors: automobiles, information technologies and communications, pharmaceuticals, healthcare products, cosmetic products, and chemicals. Regarding intellectual property and digital trade, USMCA extends the terms of copyright to 70 years (up from 50) beyond the life of the author., and protections for internet companies so they aren’t liable for content their users produce. The USMCA includes a sunset clause under which the terms of the agreement will expire (or “sunset”) after 16 years. The deal is also subject to a review after the first six years, at which point the participating countries can decide to extend the USMCA another ten years. Otherwise, the USMCA will expire after 16 years. Read the U.S. Trade Representative’s fact sheet on how the new deal helps small and medium-sized businesses.

HPBA recently signed onto a letter led by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) urging Congressional leadership to fix an oversight within the USMCA. In the agreement, companies are allowed to claim refunds of the merchandise processing fee at the time of entry, but does not allow the refund to be claimed once the merchandise crosses into the U.S. We continue to follow this issue and others related to the USMCA. Please contact Rachel Feinstein if you have any questions.
NFI Website Format Change-Simplified Pricing
In an effort to simplify the NFI website, we are making several improvements. One of most noticeable changes is the pricing section.  We are not raising our prices!  Previously there were three price choices when you selected items from the website:
 
  • HPBA Member price (30% discount)
  • NFI or CSIA Certified price (20% discount)
  • Retail price
 
Currently only the retail price will be shown and now you will have a code to enter if you are an HPBA Member or NFI/CSIA Certified. Once you enter the coupon code during checkout, the price will automatically be adjusted to the same price it has always been.

Where to get codes
  • HPBA Members can get their code from the local HPBA Affiliates 
  • CSIA Certified Technicians can get their code from CSIA
  • NFI Certified Technicians can get their code by emailing info@hpbef.org

Please contact us if you have any questions.
HPBExpo 2021 in Nashville
Exhibit booth sales have begun; if you didn’t have the opportunity to book space at this year’s show in New Orleans for next year, visit our  Apply to Exhibit page for contracts. Check out the floor plan and see who has already signed up as a 2021 Exhibitor . Contact  Anita Derouin  with questions or to discuss booth options.
Check Out All That Nashville Has to Offer
Music City is a creative melting pot of music, world-class art, award-winning cuisine, unique shops, and outdoor activities. Start planning your trip to Nashville, TN and see all that there is to experience!

Registration and Housing
Mark your calendar for September 10 th , when registration and housing open. 

Follow HPBExpo on social media
HPBExpo 2020 Photo Gallery
Find yourself on the show floor in the photo gallery , and tweet images at #HPBExpo!
Reminder!
HPBA has a new banking relationship with Bank of America, and our SunTrust accounts are now closed. For wiring information, please contact Robert Washington .

NEW PAYMENT ADDRESS:
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
P.O. Box 412397
Boston, MA 02241-2397