On February 9, the brief window of opportunity will close to voice your concerns about the impact of Governor Herbert’s newly proposed regulation prohibiting the burning of all wood during Utah’s inversion season, including burning wood in low-emission hearth products certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Impacting all or part of Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Tooele, Box Elder, Cache and Weber Counties, this proposed ban would not only outlaw wood burning during extremely bad air quality days, but also would outlaw all burning in these counties for 135 consecutive days even when there is no inversion. Perhaps well-intended, it neglects to take into consideration the use of cleaner, more efficient solid fuel technologies, such as pellet stoves, EPA-certified wood stoves, and masonry heaters, by concerned citizens who are committed to burning responsibly.
It is vital that we use the seven upcoming public meetings and other channels to express to the Governor and public officials that this proposal will punish those citizens who have invested in newer, cleaner-burning stoves and discourage people from replacing and upgrading to more environmentally-responsible hearth products. Please click on the links below to let us know if you plan to attend meetings organized by the Division of Air Quality in the following cities:
Rather than outlawing all burning from November 1 through March 15, Utah can better meet the needs of all people by encouraging increased use of low-emission hearth products. We all need to stand together if we believe that breathing clean air and responsibly burning wood to keep warm should not be mutually exclusive in Utah.
For example, modern, EPA-certified wood burning appliances can be up to 90% cleaner burning than open fireplaces or old wood stoves. They use either a catalytic converter or a sophisticated system of air mixing to achieve a cleaner burn. EPA data shows that replacing twenty old wood stoves with twenty EPA-certified wood stoves will prevent the emission of one ton of particulate matter into the environment each year – an example of the dramatic clean air improvements attributable to technology advancements.
Many other western communities have improved air quality and preserved homeowner rights to heat with wood or pellets by encouraging upgrades to cleaner technology. Exempting low-emission stoves and inserts from the burning ban is a common-sense solution for cleaning the air and preserving basic freedoms.
If you value responsible wood burning, take an active role in defeating Utah’s total burn ban proposal. If this proposal passes, you will not be permitted to burn anything, anytime, in the winter in the impacted counties. Don’t miss your opportunity to be heard on this important issue, get involved now!