2010 May 30: NY Watertown: RAWSEP View: Don’t burn wood, period. Lewis to oppose wood boiler rules
l. Don’t burn wood, period.
2. "Hurting the air" (referring to the environment, apparently) is the 2nd reason for regulating or banning Outdoor Wood Boilers. The 1st reason is because wood smoke pollution hurts people’s health. In articles such as this, the lung damage, cardiovascular damage, asthma and cataracts caused by wood smoke is ignored. It is very clever to ignore the primary reason for the legislation if you are opposed to it.
3. Cost. We see quotes from OWB owners who are opposed to regulation because they assert it will cost them money to stop polluting. Adults know that everyone has to pay for heating their homes in the winter, but OWB owners want their neighbors to additionally exchange their health for the OWB owner’s heat. The neighbors of OWB owners also have to pay more for health care when they develop heart and lung problems, asthma and cataracts.
3. A legislator from Harrisvile wants to add pollution from stationary sources like Outdoor Wood Boilers to pollution from cars. Two wrongs don’t make a right. It isn’t logical to say that particulates from automobiles is bad, but particulates from Outdoor Wood Boilers is not bad.
4. The fact that old Outdoor Wood Boilers that don’t meet emission standards will be retired is a good thing. It will give New York residents relief from the pollution they have had to endure so far. It is not right to keep doing something that is known to be polluting and harmful to health and the environment. The Boilers have to be out of use by 2020, which is really not soon enough, but makes the point about the undesirability of the units.
5. Mr. Hathaway is trying to change the subject from measurement of particulates to whether he has anecdotally seen thick black smoke. There are instruments for measuring particulates which do not require him to stand at that location and subjectively verify (or deny what is right before his eyes) the color of the smoke every few minutes. The measurement of particulates tells what is in the air which can harm human cardiovascular systems, pulmonary systems, and eyes. When an OWB owner burns in the dark of night thinking he can get away with it because no one can see it, particulate monitors can detect it. That is a relief to neighbors of OWB owners, because wood smoke can seep into neighbor’s homes even when doors and windows are closed, and residents often wake up in the middle of the night in their homes gasping for breath.
6. BP building top hats and junk shots now is like starting to build a fire truck on the day the house fire has started. We have to look at the consequences of what we do before we do it, and regulate and plan accordingly. If an Outdoor Wood Boiler starts spewing black smoke, and the neighbor is breathing it in, would the legislator then decide that’s when to regulate? That is too little too late. Justice delayed is justice denied.
7. Higher smokestacks and seasonal prohibitions are not enough, and ultimate prohibition are going to happen. Look to the future to the bridge of natural gas for heat and better insulation, and further ahead to the clean energy sources of wind, solar and geothermal. Any other advice to OWB owners would be a temporarily reassuring lie.
LOWVILLE — Lewis County legislators likely will join their St. Lawrence County counterparts in opposition to proposed state regulations on outdoor wood-fired boilers.
"There’s probably more limos in Albany than wood boilers," said Legislator Philip C. Hathway, R-Harrisville. "And they’re hurting the air a lot more than wood boilers."
County lawmakers on Tuesday will consider a resolution opposing a state Department of Environmental Conservation plan to systematically retire old wood boilers that don’t meet new emissions standards.
Mr. Hathway, who is introducing the resolution, said many of his fellow lawmakers have informally expressed support for it.
DEC officials have said that the proposal is in response to complaints that smoke from the boilers compromises air quality and that the time frames were derived using a 10-year average warranty limit.
"That’s my biggest heartburn with it," Mr. Hathway said. "That 10-year requirement is a punitive action against our hardworking people. They’re using a renewable resource instead of foreign oil, and they’re being targeted."
People aren’t forced to scrap their old vehicles when more stringent emission standards are enacted, he said.
Mr. Hathway said he was surprised that a DEC spokeswoman, in an earlier story, said outdoor boilers emit thick, black smoke.
"I’ve burned everything I can up here, and I haven’t seen that," said the town of Diana legislator, who uses an outdoor boiler himself. "We don’t have rubber trees up here, and I’m not sure they emit black smoke."
The proposed resolution, similar to one St. Lawrence County legislators adopted a couple of weeks ago, does support the proposed emissions limits and a requirement that all outdoor wood boilers sold after April 15, 2011, meet those restrictions.
The New York Farm Bureau has scheduled a news conference Tuesday to express its opposition to the DEC plan.
"Under the proposed regulations, thousands of owners of outdoor wood boilers will be forced to retrofit costly smokestacks to meet new DEC height requirements, limit the use of their units for almost half of the year and ultimately prohibit the use of any outdoor wood boiler that does not meet new, strict DEC emissions requirements," a Farm Bureau release said. "The proposed regulations will have significant financial implications for farm and rural homeowners that heat their houses, barns and greenhouses."
Mr. Hathway said he has heard that some towns also are lining up in opposition to the proposal and hopes more municipalities do so.
DEC will host the first of 11 public hearings on the proposed regulation from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., Watertown. The department will conduct an information session from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday to discuss the rule.
The public comment period will run through July 2.
The proposal can be viewed on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.