The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to impose higher standards on all new wood stoves or wood burning devices. A proposal would rely on residents buying new stoves to reduce pollution in wood smoke that can aggravate health issues. Stoves already in use would be grandfathered in.The price of the new stoves could increase as much as 25 percent over the older models.

Nearly half of all Maine residents rely on some form of wood heat to keep warm in the winter.

Area wood stove dealers are concerned that if the proposal is passed and the cost of new wood stoves rise sharply, many will keep their older, inefficient stoves.

One solution to combat the higher prices could be an exchange program. A program in which Mainers would receive a subsidy to trade in the inefficient stove for a cleaner burning one.

EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones emphasized that the rules in the proposal are just a first step and that they'll be seeking public input until May 5th.