New Bill Provides Common-Sense Solution to Burning Ban

New Bill Provides Common-Sense Solution to Burning Ban

Thanks to the active support of Utahns who believe in responsible burning, the state is on the cusp of enacting a much-needed program to reduce wood burning emissions and improve our air.

A bill has just been introduced in the Legislature to establish a formal two-stage burn program that would exempt low-emission hearth products from the first stage of the program and allow folks the freedom to use other wood-burning appliances on winter days when the air is clean.

Thousands have signed our coalition’s petition rejecting a complete ban on wood burning and encouraging increased use of low-emission stoves, inserts and masonry heaters that give off up to 90% less smoke than older technology. With a little more work, we can make this sensible policy a reality in Utah!

Many large metropolitan areas like Seattle, Denver, Albuquerque, and Fresno have some version of this program. During stage one, when an inversion first starts, local residents are required to stop using all open fireplaces and older uncertified wood stoves, but EPA-certified stoves and pellet stoves and masonry heaters may still be used as long as they emit no visible smoke. If the inversion lasts for several days and persists, then officials may declare stage two and restrict the use of even EPA-certified stoves and other cleaner burning devices.

Representative Brad Dee introduced H.B. 396 codifying the two-stage program urged by Utahns for Responsible Burning, and now this important legislation needs your support.  First a few key facts.

WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Prevents the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) from implementing an all-winter burning ban
  • Creates a two-stage burning program which:
    • Allows for the use of non-certified devices on clean (green) days
    • Allows for the use of EPA-certified and low-emission hearth products on stage one restricted (yellow) days
    • Prohibits all wood burning on stage two restricted (red) days

WHY THE BILL MAKES SENSE:

  • Burning restrictions can only be called within 48 hours, not open ended as the current program allows
  • Allows burning in locations where natural gas service is limited or unavailable
  • Allows burning during emergencies and power outages
  • Acknowledges those who have made the investments into cleaner technology and encourages others to do the same

HOW THE BILL SERVES UTAHNS:

  • Provides alternative, economical options to those who are on the sole source registry to upgrade to other options such as an EPA-certified stove
  • Provides for an education program that teaches best wood-burning practices

Without this bill, the DAQ could reintroduce Governor Herbert’s all-out burning ban regulation at any time! We urge you to support Representative Dee as he works to get this bill passed.
 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  1. Find out who represents you. Go to Utah State Legislature web page, type in your address and zip code and identify your legislators.
  2. Write to your Senator and Representative. You can use the talking points below to help draft your letter or e-mail.
  3. Write to your local newspaper. Using the same talking points, make sure local media know about your support. Feel free to customize the message below.

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Dear Madam or Sir,

Everyone in Utah cares about air quality and our collective good health. During these winter months, many of us rely on wood-burning heat sources to keep our homes warm.  That’s why I am a strong supporter of important legislation (H.B. 396) to reduce wood burning emissions and improve our air.

This bill, introduced in the Utah Legislature by Representative Brad Dee, encourages Utahns to burn wood responsibly using modern, EPA-certified wood or pellet stoves.  These lower-emission hearth products are proven to cut smoky emissions by up to 90 percent.  Specifically, Rep. Dee’s bill creates a two-stage burning program which:

    • Allows for the use of non-certified devices on clean (green) days
    • Allows for the use of EPA-certified and low-emission hearth products on stage one restricted (yellow) days
    • Prohibits all wood burning on stage two restricted (red) days

Just as important, the legislation would also prevent Utah’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) from implementing Governor Herbert’s all-winter burning ban.

Exempting low-emission stoves and inserts from the first stage of a burn ban is a common-sense solution for cleaning the air, preserving basic freedoms and encouraging upgrades to cleaner technology.  I urge the legislature to enact H.B. 396 this session.

 

Sincerely,

Name

City, UT

Email Address (optional)