With Governor Herbert’s pending regulation that would place a ban on all wood burning during the winter months, folks in Utah are raising their voices in support of protecting responsible burning. Hundreds of Utahns are signing petitions, submitting public comments and sharing their stories with the local media. They’re fighting to be heard, and they’re getting noticed. Here are a few recent examples of Utahns voicing their opinions in the media:
The Salt Lake Tribune
Ed Red, a mechanical engineering professor at Brigham Young University, says that a full ban would punish those who have invested thousands of dollars upgrading their wood stoves to EPA-compliant models that burn more cleanly.
Others feel like their conscientiousness to burn responsibly has been in vein: “We just feel this ban is painting us with a broad brush and is saying that all wood burners are evil. It is really offensive,” says Esther Olschewski.
Bruce Bugbee, a professor in the Department of Plants, Soils and Climate at Utah State University and a 2011 recipient of the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology, states that “a draconian ban on the use of all wood stoves all winter” isn’t the solution – clean-burning stoves are.
And the editorial board at the Tribune acknowledged that there “is a case to be made that some people have, or can acquire, special kinds of wood-burning stoves that meet federal EPA standards for emitting as little as 25 percent of normal particulate matter. The book should not be closed on this process until serious consideration is given to exempting those devices from the bans.”
The Deseret News
Teresa Clawson, a Utahn who raised her children around a fireplace insert that provided heat for many years, has “taken measures to burn wood as cleanly as possible, and spent quite a bit of money and research on buying an efficient fireplace insert and maintaining it properly.”
Mark McMillan Sr. believes that “most people burn responsibly when weather conditions permit and do so with the certified clean burning (EPA-approved) equipment.” He believes that we need to find a better solution addressing those who have not upgraded their appliance or can’t afford it.
Our coalition has already received more than 800 petition signatures as of today, along with submissions for public comments, letters to the editor and personal stories. Here are just a few examples:
Excerpt from Contact the Media: We spent thousands of dollars on an EPA certified stove… This proposal would mean we would lose our time and money for having such a stove.
– David P.
Excerpt from Petition Comments: My furnace went out over the Christmas / New Year holidays. I was 10 days with only my wood burning stove for heat, and temperatures were in the single digits. Without the wood burning stove, my family and my home would have been in trouble.
– Robert S.
Excerpt from a Shared Story: We live in a canyon area, and the wind chill from the winds raises our fuel costs even more. A high quality pellet stove is a cost saving for us to keep us warm and in the event of an emergency can also heat our food and water.
– Moana H.
Excerpt from a Shared Story: I am willing and do comply with the no burn days. However to ban all wood/solid fuel burning is a complete knee jerk reaction when I am willing to play by the rules and have paid for a highly efficient clean burning wood stove.
– Tyler R.
Join those standing up for burning responsibly by getting involved, too. The first of seven public hearings on the ban takes place at the Tooele County Health Department (151 N. Main Street, #181) at 4pm. Let your voice be heard.