2010 March 7: CT Norwich: Health advocates to strike back in furnace fight: Toxicology report to be presented to General Assembly Monday March 8

2010 March 7: CT Norwich: Health advocates to strike back in furnace fight: Toxicology report to be presented to General Assembly Monday March 8

By JAMES MOSHER

Posted Mar 06, 2010 @ 10:41 PM
Health advocates pushing for curbs on outdoor wood-burning furnaces will present a medical report Monday at a General Assembly hearing involving New London County farm leaders.
North Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc. said a study led by Dr. David Brown, a public health toxicologist, will be released at the 10:30 a.m. hearing before the Environment Committee. The group, known by the acronym EHHI, is seeking a ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces because of the smoke’s “harmful effects on human health.”
“The science is clear,” EHHI’s president, Nancy Alderman, wrote in an e-mail. “These outdoor wood-burning furnaces put whole neighborhoods at risk.”
Late last year, EHHI joined with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and the American Lung Association in seeking a ban on the appliances, such those enacted in Granby, Hebron and Tolland. Furnace sellers and farmers are among those objecting.
Cost-effective energy
Farms, including several struggling Eastern Connecticut dairy operations, depend on the furnaces for cost-effective energy, especially in winter.
EHHI is supporting an exemption for agricultural uses with a setback of 1,000 feet for new units installed for agricultural purposes. Alderman said the farmers should be allied with her group.
“Farmers should be supporting policies that protect them … especially when they would be exempt,” she wrote.
Farmers oppose ban
Farmers, led by New London County Farm Bureau President Wayne Budney and Connecticut Farm Bureau Association Executive Director Steven Reviczky, are standing on grounds of widespread economic hardship and wood’s environmental record compared with oil and other fuels.
“No fuel has a better record,” said Budney, who owns Four Winds Farm in Lebanon and doesn’t own an outdoor furnace.
The New London County bureau voted earlier this month to oppose Senate Bill 126, which contains many of the wishes of EHHI and other health advocates. Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, who is vice chairman of the Environment Committee, has said a ban is unlikely although he supports “reasonable” additional regulations to guard human health.

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