Just over a week ago, Utahns for Responsible Burning launched its campaign against Governor Herbert’s proposed burning ban regulation. In its current form, the regulation would ban all wood burning during the winter months. We advocate for a mandatory two-stage program, similar to programs successfully implemented in many other western regions, which exempts EPA-certified stoves, pellet stoves and masonry heaters during the first stage.
The two public hearing that have taken place since the campaign began reveal that Utahns agree with this fair and balanced approach, and are willing to fight to have their voices heard.
Exceeding expectations, nearly 200 people turned out for the first public hearing in Tooele. According to local TV reporters at the event, every person who took the microphone spoke out against the ban – and in favor of Utahns retaining their freedom to burn responsibly.
At the second hearing in Salt Lake City, citizens were lined up outside the full capacity room to voice their opinions. The sentiment was the same in the Salt Lake as in Tooele – as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, by Deseret News, local television stations FOX 13 and ABC 4, and other media.
Those opposing the ban include retired Forest Ranger Kim Marshall, who talked about how restaurants and other businesses are being allowed an exemption, so responsible citizens with EPA-certified stoves should be as well. Other citizens repeatedly expressed frustration that the proposal disproportionally punishes citizens who take care to burn wood responsibly. Salt Lake City hearing attendee Craig Logreen likened the proposed ban to “swatting at a mosquito when an alligator has your foot.”
Additionally, Utahns for Responsible Burning, led by Utah resident John Mortensen, was very active in talking with local media this week, meeting with six newspaper reporters, five radio and TV stations and countless citizens and business owners to discuss why EPA-certified wood burning appliances should be exempted from the proposed ban. Other members of the coalition were out in strong numbers at both meetings, connecting with other concerned citizens and sharing information about responsible wood burning.
To date, nearly 2,000 Utahns have signed the petition to allow Utahns the right to burn wood responsibly. The work continues and Utahns for Responsible Burning encourages those Utahns who haven’t gotten involved yet to attend an upcoming public hearing, submit a public comment and share the news.
Don’t miss the upcoming hearings this week. There are two this Tuesday (1/20): one in Brigham City at 11:30 am and one in Ogden at 5:00 pm. Then there’s a hearing on Wednesday (1/21) in Logan at 4:00 pm. If you can’t make it to the hearings, see other ways you can get involved. Make sure your voice is heard.