Threat of wood-burning regulations

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  • Vince Ballard South Ogden, UT
    Jan. 8, 2015 9:26 a.m.

    In the nearly 60 years I have lived in my home we have about three fireplace fires a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. An inspection about five years ago found the chimney virtually spotless. I fail to see how the draconian measures being proposed will materially affect our air quality.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 7, 2015 5:55 p.m.

    The Utah division of Air Qualtily is now accepting public comment on the outragious proposal to ban wood burning entirely from Nov. 1 to March 1st. Just google it and they have a link to where you can shoot off an email and let them know how you feel about that proposal.

    We have had good air now for 2 months with green burn days and if people obey the law and do not burn on no burn days, don't blame wood burners for the bad air.

    That's like saying ban all cars just because a few people don't get their cars inspected for all of the winter months, or banning all guns because some people don't follow gun rules, or banning all off road motercylcing when a few don't follow off roading rules. They want a blanket ban for 7 counties except they still think it too important to impose on wood burned pizza or other food establishments because apparently its not that important and they like to eat out apparently and that can't be inconvenienced.

  • Applepocket183 Murray, Salt Lake County, UT
    Jan. 7, 2015 10:14 a.m.

    Wow JKR. Talk about "poorly written & full of thinking errors"? Wood smoke has been "present in the atmosphere" the last two summers from all the forest fires in California & Nevada. Much less in the winter. I suggest you do in the summer what you do in the winter. Stay in your pajamas in your mothers basement and make meaningless rants on your computer. How long does it take for the "dead needles" from dead pine trees to miraculously disappear Einstein? We all know that green trees and green needles catch fir just as easily as dry ones right? You are undoubtedly a deep thinker. Common sense isn't your long suit.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 7, 2015 7:53 a.m.

    Re: "There have been many times . . . the air quality readings . . . indicated good air quality only to be overcome by wood smoke as I went outside to go running."

    If you were "overcome" by wood smoke on your run, you were foolishly running in the middle of a forest fire.

    The real point is this -- wood smoke is, at worst, a cosmetics issue. There is no valid reason for the elites to oppress the poor by banning the burning of wood.

    Utah's actual problem is, those elitists bleating that we should do so have simply come to believe that their station in life somehow entitles them disregard the needs of real people and enforce their petty preferences on the rest of us.

  • Trebor Sandy, UT
    Jan. 7, 2015 2:09 a.m.

    Burning wood, even on a good air quality day, can leave a toxic polluted hot spot in a neighborhood. There have been many times when I’ve checked the air quality readings at the state website that indicated good air quality only to be overcome by wood smoke as I went outside to go running.

  • prelax Murray, UT
    Jan. 7, 2015 12:06 a.m.

    Let's go after the little guy that accounts for less than 5% of the pollution, and ignore the real problem.

  • Brad Peterson South Ogden, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 9:58 p.m.

    Wood smoke makes up 2-5% of the pollution on inversion days (Seems the posting rules won't let me link to the source).
    This is from people burning when we shouldn't burn. Overall, it seems the focus is becoming exaggerated. Yes, people burning on no burn days shouldn't burn. Cutting that 2-5% figure down some will help.

    But banning burning during non-inversion days is stupid. You're going to give people above 6000 feet a constant green light to burn because they don't have an inversion? Give us the right to burn when we don't have an inversion.

    And banning EPA fireplaces is ridiculously stupid. Just a few years ago the government encouraged everyone to buy them, even going so far as to labeling them green/carbon neutral solutions. We got rebates for upgrading. EPA fireplaces emit FAR less smoke. That 2-5% figure with EPA fireplaces would be a fraction of a percent.

  • JKR Holladay, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 9:55 p.m.

    This is a poorly written article full of thinking errors. For instance, you "think" people burn wood responsibly. Really? How did you reach this conclusion? Wood smoke is present in the atmosphere during the winter. It's the one thing that could be easily eliminated to improve air quality. Second, do 9000 cords of wood from the forest end up in the Salt Lake Valley? Of course not, they go to Heber, Kamas, and other places where the air quality allows wood burning. And, studies of fire in forests show that the beetle kills are a wash - risk of big fires is not increased because the dead trees lose their needles. Your rights to ruin the air quality with your wood stove end where my health begins. Check your facts before you publish things in the newspaper.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 8:43 p.m.

    When the average family income in town is $20,000.00 that doesn't have plumed gas to their home that buys propane and has UP@L for electricity. Guess what would be necessary to heat the house.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 7:12 p.m.

    Lets not add any ban on wood smoke until there is a proper study. Lets ban it completely for a month and follow the particulate readings. If there is a dramatic change, I can be persuaded. Is the clean air police willing to go along with such a study?

    This week seems to be the first significant inversion. At least 95% of the smog/particulate is not wood smoke and far less if people are obeying the wood burning ban.

    If we have had good air the past 2 or so months when people were free to heat from a wood burning stoves some of which are EPA certified, why should we just ban it the whole year? Isn't that a better use of wood than roasting marshmallows? If there is no inversions and weather fronts are coming in, there is no reason to trample wood burners rights as we have seen by this winters good air. This inversion we have known was coming for several days now and we have wood burning bans in place, so if people are obeying the law, don't blame wood burners, blame who ever has used a car or heated their home etc.

  • blackattack Orem, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 6:02 p.m.

    "Over-regulation by bureaucracies that are continually lobbied by well-funded (tax exempt) radical environmentalists will eventually be the death of freedom if we don’t stand together."

    Wow, that is an extreme statement.

    I just want clean air as do many other Utahns, freedom-destroyers or not :). It helps me stay healthy, it looks pretty, and people want to come here when there isn't smog. Wood stoves are a low-hanging fruit. I am sympathetic to those who have them to heat their home and it is expensive to replace--that is why there are programs to help them convert.

  • blackattack Orem, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 5:59 p.m.

    "Yeah, a campaign to destroy jobs, freedoms, and anything that makes Utah life pleasant."

    I have a neighbor who has COPD and when people use their wood stoves in our neighborhood, life is not pleasant. Those who have asthma also do not find it pleasant, which is one of the number one causes for children's ER visits. Those aren't cheap visits.

    I guess it keeps jobs in healthcare, wood stove manufacturers, etc.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 3:53 p.m.

    I love it when any opposition to any proposed regulation is characterized as neanderthalic, libertarianism run amuck and how if you don't support XXXXX plan, you hate children and want old people to die. You must be cackling as you push Grannie over the cliff if you don't think government is the only solution, and regulations that cater to leftist ideology are the sane option.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 12:42 p.m.

    Re: ". . . Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) have joined other nonprofit organizations in a campaign . . . ."

    Yeah, a campaign to destroy jobs, freedoms, and anything that makes Utah life pleasant.

    In the interest of truth-in-advertising, UPHE should change its name to Callow, Socialist Docs Against Jobs. There is not the slightest credibility to anything this tiny, leftist, fact-averse organization says or does.

    Dr. Moench effectively admitted as much in his KUER interview.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 11:40 a.m.

    I love it when any regulation is characterised as a knee jerk over reaction, government run amok. Where you all when someone suggested it be illegal to enjoy a beer in the car?

  • susandm SLC, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 11:28 a.m.

    Our home has a wood burning stove to keep us warm in the winter. We burn responsibly when the air is bad we don't burn, however when we can't burn we have to depend on Qusetar gas and no matter how hard we try our gas bill keeps going up and up. At night we sit under blankets to keep warm so we don't have to turn the heat up. Banning wood burning stoves is like saying take the swing sets out of the parks because someone MIGHT get hurt. Vehicles, busses, diesel trucks, industry cause more pollution than a wood burning stove does. For the most part UTA has priced their self's out of sight so riding trax becomes a problem. Banning wood burning stoves is a bandaid to make the Governor and environmentalist get all warm and fuzzy but doesn't help the problem of us middle class to stay warm. I understand there are those who have a hard time breathing when the air is bad but stop punishing those of us who do our best to be responsible, most of us don't have the recourses to fight this.

  • Dragline Orem, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 11:27 a.m.

    As I sit here trying to look across Utah Valley but can't see past Lehi from the Point of the Mountain because of the inversion, I wonder why we are even having this argument.

    And @ procuradorfiscal's comment:
    "People evolved and/or have lived in in wood-smoke environments for eons. There is not the slightest evidence of an adverse effect on human health of wood smoke,.."

    I suggest you talk to Utah physicians:
    "The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) have joined other nonprofit organizations in a campaign to provide education on the latest medical research associating many chronic diseases and causes of mortality to environmental factors, especially air pollution."

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 11:18 a.m.

    "For all the kerfuffle about bad air in Utah actually this year hasn't been bad at all."

    Pretty much just because other than a couple days in mid-November this is the first several day inversion we've had. Being above average in temperature for around 30 days until late December and having no snow cover in the valley until late December helped.

    "Where are the studies that show how fast all that bad air is blown out of the valley when a front blows in? Two or three hours at the most?"

    Depends on the strength of a system. Sometimes there's only a partial mix-out.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 10:48 a.m.

    Re: "To just have an all-out ban on all wood burning is a knee-jerk reaction that would have many negative consequences."

    So are EPA regulations and no-burn days.

    People evolved and/or have lived in in wood-smoke environments for eons. There is not the slightest evidence of an adverse effect on human health of wood smoke, particularly when present in the tiny concentrations found in Utah's air.

    Regulation of wood burning is more meddlesome reaction to a harmless practice -- one that can have only local, cosmetic effects -- than championing of environmental "justice."

    And, it inarguably amounts to oppression of the poor.

    Makes one wonder why liberals are in the forefront of actions that have the clear effect of abusing those they claim to be looking out for.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 10:35 a.m.

    Come on. We all know that radical environmentalists are the only ones who need to be heard here. Why, what is more important-- little old ladies who will freeze to death because no longer can she burn the wood her neighborhood has supplied for her, or snooty environmentalists who can afford a $40,000 geothermal system? Sorry Grannie: we'll bring flowers to your funeral!

    I love the environmentalists: "You cannot burn icky wood, it is only a renewable resource! You must burn natural gas from fracking for heat--until we outlaw that too, along with coal, and windmills that kill birds, and solar that shades the irreplaceable desert water moccasin or something! Tidal energy probably hurts fish too!" Leftists won't rest until we are all frozen to death.... but at least we will see a mountain as we die!

  • Dragline Orem, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 9:56 a.m.

    "9,091 cords of dry timber" taken out of the forest is like taking a cup of sand from the beach. It does nothing to stop the beetle infestation and does not make the forest safer from fires. Let's get our proportions aligned here. This is a specious argument.

    My grandfather burns coal in the fireplace and is arguing that he has the personal freedom to continue doing so. What say you?

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 6, 2015 9:35 a.m.

    Wood burning is irrational in a crowded valley choked by inverted weather patterns and pollution.

    If you live in a bowl, you do your best to keep it clean instead of figuring out ways to mess it up for other people.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 8:54 a.m.

    The most important thing in life for every one is Necessity.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 7:30 a.m.

    For all the kerfuffle about bad air in Utah actually this year hasn't been bad at all. I may be wrong, but this week is the first week I remember talk of an inversion = poor air quality by the end of the week with no burn days leading up and into the inversion. If the vast majority of wood burners obey the ban then what is the problem? How about a bigger fine for violators and better enforcement before we trample on others rights willy nilley without much thought or science. (If you can prove that wood burners put us into the bad air levels even when there is no inversion in place, then i'll listen, or have a trial ban of 1 month say next winter and study the effects show that it would have a meaningful difference)

    There is no point in a blanket ban on wood burning stoves when there is no inversions in place or forecast to happen. Where are the studies that show how fast all that bad air is blown out of the valley when a front blows in? Two or three hours at the most?

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 6:50 a.m.

    Not only does wood burning hamper the air quality indoors for you and your family, but also that of your neighbors -- both with stinky heavy particulates that hover over homes and fine particulates that penetrate even the most well-insulated of homes. Those fine particulates get into people's lungs and bloodstream, and that steady build-up in their bodies over weeks and months creates health problems.

    The one issue people haven't discussed is property values. Ask any real estate agent (and perhaps Gov. Herbert's background in real estate already informs him of this fact), homes and property near wood-burning homes have lower values. People don't want to live near others who burn wood regularly. It stinks up the area and hampers overall quality of life.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 6, 2015 5:02 a.m.

    Several things.

    "I believe most people burn responsibly when weather conditions permit and do so with the certified clean burning (EPA-approved) equipment."

    I think lots of people like a fire in the fireplace.

    "To just have an all-out ban on all wood burning is a knee-jerk reaction that would have many negative consequences."

    Completely agree. Any proposal should have exceptions for those who use wood as their only source of heat. I have not looked at it, but would be very surprised if it did not include that exception.

    "Most of us are aware that there are always unintended repercussions that follow hasty decisions"

    Don't know about Utah, but on the national level, "hasty decisions", "Knee-jerk reactions" and "unintended repercussions" seems to be the GOP party platform.
    Fire Ready Aim

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 6, 2015 1:05 a.m.

    There are wood stoves that are EPA certified. They are designed to have a more complete combustion and less smoke. Such stoves would produce more heat for a given amount of wood. Perhaps in Utah these stoves should be required.