2010 March 10: CT New London: Area farm leader supports fines on outdoor furnaces
Wayne Budney, president of the New London County Farm Bureau, said financial penalties are necessary to discourage trash burning and other misuse of the furnaces.
“Oh, absolutely, we’re in favor of that (fines),” said Budney, who owns Four Winds Farm in Lebanon.
Budney was one of more than 100 people to testify at an all-day hearing before the General Assembly’s Environment Committee.
“It was a good session,” he said. “Everybody got to give their views.”
Senate Bill 126
Farm leaders, including Connecticut Farm Bureau Association Executive Director Steven Reviczky, are trying to halt Senate Bill 126, which would ban use of the outdoor furnaces for six months of the year and include wood smoke under the public health nuisance code. Even though the bill would exempt farmers, farm leaders are fighting the measure on grounds of overall economic hardship and an assault on Connecticut’s “environmentally sound,” wood-burning heritage.
Health advocates including North Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc. say that wood smoke is as dangerous as tobacco smoke and public health needs to be better guarded.
Dr. David Brown, a top former state government toxicologist and a member of EHHI, released a report at the hearing and testified.
“Wood smoke is a mixture of particle matter and organic chemicals of different toxicities — including cancer,” Brown said Monday. “Components of wood smoke are similar to cigarette smoke. Both are carcinogenic and respiratory toxins.”
EHHI’s president, Nancy Alderman, also testified Monday. She said Tuesday that outdoor furnaces are “fundamentally different” from indoor wood stoves and fireplaces, especially in the lower temperatures of the outdoor furnace smoke.
Nine Connecticut towns have banned the outdoor appliances and a statewide ban is “not asking for something outrageous,” Alderman said.
“It was hard to get cigarette smoking out of restaurants,” she said. “It was certainly an economic hardship. One has to decide — what are the risks and what is the role of government.”