Two weeks ago, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) opened up Governor Herbert’s proposed burning ban regulation, which would ban all wood burning during the winter months, to public comment. In response to the all-out ban, Utahns for Responsible Burning launched its campaign, advocating for a mandatory two-stage program – emulating many other successful programs in the western U.S. In each of the five public hearings thus far, the citizens of the affected communities did not stand idly by. Here are recaps of the coverage in the news and in social media:
In an impressive display of citizen participation, approximately 1,000 Utahns attended public meetings during the second week of hearings. Of the 235 citizens that were given the opportunity to voice their opinion, all but a small handful people spoke out against the regulation in its current form.
Approximately 250 citizens were lined up outside the Cache County courthouse in Logan for the fifth public hearing. The Herald Journal proclaimed that the “Public Has Spoken” on wood burning, and Utah Public Radio’s headline “Utahns Outraged By Wood Burning Ban” aptly described the sentiment of the overwhelming majority.
While the meetings took place, members of the coalition displayed EPA-certified stoves outside, educating attendees on these enhanced technologies and why they offer an effective alternative to an all-out ban. As Utahns for Responsible Burning leader John Mortensen said to the media, “99 percent are not in favor of the ban.” See below for more media coverage.
To date, our coalition has sent more than 3,000 petitions to the governor and the DEQ, letting them know that Utahns are against an all-out ban and want to maintain their right to burn wood responsibly. You can sign and send the petition using your own words. We also provide a way for people to send a letter to the media, share their story, and make public comments. Below are just a few excerpts from the submissions.
Public Comment: Targeting just wood burning stoves as the major polluters is a cop-out and doesn’t address the real problem. – Don D.
Public Comment: I listened to “Let me speak to the Governor” on KSL last week and I was sorely disappointed in Gov. Herbert’s comments on EPA-certified wood stoves. – Paul T.
Public Comment: Burning responsibly is a good step in the right direction, but an outright ban would be wrong and will hurt the families that use wood to offset the cost of natural gas. – Eric W.
Public Comment: What are you going to do when you ban residential burning and air quality remains dangerous? You are going after the wrong offender. – Nicholas K.
Don’t miss the final public hearings this week in Farmington, Davis County, at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, January 28, and in Provo, Utah County at 11:00 AM on Thursday, January 29. If you can’t make it to the hearings, see other ways you can get involved. Before this public comment period closes in a week, be sure that your voice is heard.