2012 May 5: CT Hartford: Hartford Courant – Wood-burning Furnace Law Nears OK
Hartford Courant – Wood-burning Furnace Law Nears ODear All,
The article below is from today’s Hartford Courant. Actually the outdoor wood furnace Bill passed the State Senate unanimously yesterday. The explanation of the Bill and actual link to the Bill’s language is below the Hartford Courant article. The Bill now has to pass the House. The CT legislative session is over Wednesday evening – so it either will or it wont by that date.
Wood-burning Furnace Law Nears OK
By DANIELA ALTIMARI, email@example.com The Hartford Courant
10:01 p.m. EDT, May 4, 2012
The Senate late Friday was poised to approve a bill to place new restrictions on the use of wood-burning furnaces.
Proposed rules would require that furnace owners burn only wood or wood-pellets. Furnaces installed or modified after Oct. 1 must also meet the latest federal Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.
Outdoor wood-fire furnaces are used across the state by farmers and homeowners as hot water heaters and for other reasons. However, some of those furnaces, particularly older ones, have caused air-quality issues for neighbors.
After a debate, the bill was placed on the consent calendar – reflecting unanimous support among senators – for consideration later in the evening.
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Sen. Ed Meyer, D-Guilford and co-chair of the environment committee, said he heard testimony during a public hearing earlier this year that some homeowners use all sorts of items as fuel.
“People burn clothes, they burn sneakers, they burn lots of trash,” he said. “They burn anything they’re trying to get rid of and it makes the smoke that much more odious.”
The measure also gives local health directors and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection the power to investigate complaints that wood-burning furnaces are violating state air pollution standards. If the furnaces are found to be in violation, the authorities can shut them down from May 1 to Sept. 30. Air pollution from a wood-fired furnaces is worse in summer months.
That provision is a compromise, Initially, lawmakers were considering barring the use of wood-burning furnaces during the summer.
Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen , said the bill is an “entirely responsible way” to address the problems that wood-burning furnaces can cause.
He said the legislation balances two competing interests: the desire for clean air and “the ability of Connecticut Yankees to use their strong backs Š and hard work to heat themselves and their families” without using “expensive and volatile and foreign” sources of fuel.
The bill would also establish a task force to look into other issues related to wood-burning furnaces, such as whether the regulations ought to be temporarily lifted in cases of extreme power loss.
The CT Outdoor Wood Furnace (OWF) Bill has just passed the CT Senate unanimously.
We can thank Senator Ed Meyer who did a wonderful job of shepherding the Bill through the Senate – we can also thank Karl Wagener, Executive Director of the the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and all the CEQ members who worked on the OWF issue, we should thank the Commissioners of Health, Environment and Agriculture for working together and coming up with the final language of the Bill and we can thank all the harmed people who have worked for years to tell their stories of physical harms and harms to their property values.
This Bill is not everything that everyone might have wanted – but it is certainly an improvement from where we are now – and it puts in place a study group to continue working on the OWF issues. The Bill also recognizes that OWFs do cause harm and that they were in need of further regulation. The Bill is below – click in blue type.
What does this Bill do?
1. All new OWFs bought after next October 1 in CT must be Phase ll units.
2. Anyone harmed by an OWF from May1st – September 30th, can send a written complaint to their local health director or to the CT DEEP and they can close the OWF down for that time.
3. Only clean wood or wood pellets will be allowed to be burned.
4. A study group will be formed of the 3 Commissioners – Health, Environment and Agriculture.
We will now hope for good luck in the House.
Nancy Alderman, President
Environment and Human Health, Inc.
1191 Ridge Road
North Haven, CT 06473