2011 Dec. 24: IN & NY: Letter about regulation of OWBs on federal, state or local level

2011 Dec. 24: IN & NY: Letter about regulation of OWBs on federal, state or local level

I would say that Senator Lugar and his staff are very much aware of the “OWB” issue. His response to you is symbolic of the failed political system in this country that pass a bunch of “feel good” laws that appear to address serious problems that face this nation, but in reality do exactly the opposite.

The third paragraph of his response was probably written by a Central Boiler lobbyist;

“emissions from an outdoor hydronic heater can cause air pollution problems when not sited, installed, or operated properly”

this statement deflects the responsibility that Central Boiler and other manufacturers have for manufacturing a defective product that is incapable of burning wood in an environmentally friendly manner. Further Central Boiler and other manufacturers should require their dealers not to sell their products where they would “not be sited, installed or operated properly”. Have you ever heard of Central Boiler removing one of their boilers that they sold to someone who doesn’t operate it properly? There should be a “clawback” provision in the sales contract for any wood boiler sold, that stipulates if the boiler emissions cause any problems for neighbors that the manufacturer be required to remove the offending boiler and return the purchase price. In New York State before you may obtain a hunter’s license you are required to take a hunter’s safety course. Ever hear of any boiler manufacturer or state environmental protection department requiring that wood burners be required to take a “Burning Wood Responsibly” course?

With regard to the EPA and the “voluntary measures”; ask Senator Lugar is he believes that if all the citizens in the United States “voluntarily” do the right thing? If they did, then there would be no need for Congress to pass laws, and no need for any governments (including Senator Lugar and his staff). “State and local regulation to control emissions from outdoor hydronic heaters” is another example out of the Central Boiler lobbyist’s playbook. Our three levels of government (federal, state, and local) are like three monkeys that point to each other when you ask “who will regulate these boilers that pollute the air that my family breathes?” In New York when the state attempts to regulate wood boilers, the Central boiler lobbyists and their followers argue that the state should not be involved, “that it should be a local issue”. When regulations are proposed at the local level, the Central Boiler lobbyists and their followers argue to do nothing because the state and EPA are working on measures to deal with the problem. This is music to a local’s officials ears as they do not have the budgets or personnel (with the technical expertise) to deal with these wood boiler issues. So in the end the Central Boiler tactic of “divide and conquer” is successful. Three layers of government and none of them effectively deal with the problem.

“Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet developed national standards”; ask Senator Luger why the EPA has kicked the can down the road regarding wood boilers for over thirty years; (the EPA established emission standards for wood stoves in 1988, and at the same time created the loophole which spawned the wood boiler industry).

“Outdoor hydronic heaters”; another Central Boiler lobbyist technique; semantics. If you can’t prevent regulations from being enacted, then you strictly define the problem which creates more loopholes. Outdoor Wood Boilers (OWBs), Outdoor Wood Furnaces (OWFs), Outdoor Hydronic Heaters (OHHs), are just some of the terms used to describe these air polluting devices (and their indoor cousins, which are more insidious, because you have no idea of what your neighbor is burning). If you are fortunate to live in a municipality that has the sense to regulate these air polluting devices make sure it includes an all encompassing definition to include all the different varieties, otherwise your regulatory officials will use the narrow definition as an excuse not to take action. This has happened in New York where Department of Environmental Conservation officials have “interpreted” that their PART 247 regulations for Outdoor Wood Boilers does not apply to indoor models.

“I am also sure that most of the Senators in the USA do not have a clue with regards to this issue and what is causing the harm for their constituents.” The latter statement is true (they have never experienced the harmful emissions from a wood boiler), but the former statement, the US senators are familiar with. However they just hear from Central Boiler and the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) lobbyists a distorted picture of how the wood boiler industry promoted America’s energy independence, creates American jobs, prevents global warming). Click on this link: http://www.page1publications.com/editionviewer/default.aspx?Edition=89948d7f-a5db-44d6-8d7f-fa5d70c43d3e&Page=4a9fea02-018a-4c40-abc1-8d04a92c6ae9
Unfortunately while you and your family suffer from the emissions of your neighbor’s wood boiler, the employees of Central Boiler are enjoying another holiday bonus. If Central Boiler was a responsible company they would be using that bonus money to buy back problem boilers.

So yes a Merry Christmas to all, and I hope the only thing that goes down your neighbor’s boiler chimney is the noxious smoke it usually emits.


Gary Mastroeni

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