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Here we go again with this burn ban crap

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Elderthewelder, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. stonewall123

    stonewall123 Member

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    Dan, that system of neighbors keeping each other in check has worked for the last 200 years. Why stop now?

    I can tell by your comments that you have never been to China. It is a terrible place to visit. Before we left our government approved guide broke down into tears and begged us not to take our freedoms for granted. China has dirty air for a number of reasons, mainly because they value becoming a superpower more than human life. If you think China doesn't have regulations, you are in a dream world.

    ETA: The point the other posters are making is that the government has failed to link poor air quality to efficient wood burning. Following lockstep with government regulation leads to dangerous results...

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  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Look, another snotty response by the person NOT effected by the burn ban.
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Oops! Sorry. The "power" thing confused me!
  4. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    This stove is rated 1.6 grams per hour.. Pretty good for 1988 vintage!

    Ray
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    It is never legal to smoke out your neighbor. In addition to these lame duck burn bans, year round you can be fined for having too much smoke leaving your chimney whether it is an EPA stove or not.

    The stage one bans say no fireplaces or smoke dragons. These bans are seldom used as anything except for a one day wait before engaging the stage 2 ban. The stage 2 ban is what we have now and bans all solid fuel burners.

    Fines "start at" 1000 dollars. They have night viewing equipment, infared camera, to get you. You then have the burden of proving that your fine is unjust due to whatever loophole you can cook up. There is an easy way to snitch on your neighbor right on the website under the burn ban alert. No name is needed, other than your email address you are totally anonymous.

    Oh and the clean air agency responsible for these bans has begun running these commercials with children each saying that they deserve to be healthy, deserve to not breathe toxic gas, etc. and then show a girl inhaling a big drag of smoke. I thought for sure it was an anti tobacco ad, maybe even a nazi/jew thing, but then it turned out to be an anti woodsmoke ad. Very misleading and tells me a lot about their agenda.

    I took a motorcycle ride yesterday afternoon in 25 degree weather to check chimneys. Air at 700 feet ASL was clear as a bell. BG may have been in the city near Tacoma and I was able to witness that the smoke deck was not at "1000s of feet" Maybe a few hundred feet tops around that urban center.

    Yes, we get pollution around the cities. No, it is not the fault of EPA burners. Yes, it is easier to ban all burning in an entire county than it is to do anything else, it's for the children after all.
  6. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    The main issue is there is no results to these burn bans. How many people in the area actually burn wood to heat their homes? The percentage of people is most likely in the single digits. How many of them are using an older less efficient fireplace or stove? Most likely less than half. If they all quit burning the effect would be unnoticed most likely. One tree burned in a wild fire on the west coast would release the smoke that most people would release in a whole season of heating. How many wildfires do they have in a year out there? How much natural pollution is produced by the earth each year compared to what a few people create trying to stay warm? Do they have any facts to show this ban helps or is necessary? Wood smoke has occured on this planet since the first tree grew on it and it will continue to occur long after we are gone. Someone burning some wood in a stove to keep warm makes no measurable difference to this planet or it's air quality.
  7. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Were we to have a burn ban here, the first thing that people would do would be to fire up the oil fired or gas fired heating, or electric systems. Oil refineries chuck out masses of waste (even when they are not filling the Gulf with explosions and spills). Electricity here is produced from coal fired, oil fired, nuclear, or gas fired power stations. Gas comes from Russia, oil from North Sea or MiddleEast, coal from eastern Europe, and wind..... well, it is never windy when you would have a burn ban or the smog would be blown away. The only local fuel to me is wood, everything is transported over a thousand miles, hardly environentally friendly, but who cares about the environment when a whole load of people sit around a table in some committee and decide to solve a problem. Nice theory, but the unintended consequences are never thought out, because most of the people sitting on these committees are either newly qualified, enthusiastic, but inexperienced youngsters without much life experience, or other types who are there to look after their vested interests. And yes, I really am cynical about burn bans when the next moment someone is saying that burning wood is a zero carbon activity because to let it lay and rot will produce the same emissions.

    Must admit, sitting where I am, the idea of paying people to install woodburners one day, then banning them from using them the next seems like the crappy sort of idea that could have come from our government..... :)
  8. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    +1 Chippy!

    Ray
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Interestingly enough, we had a bad air inversion in new england the last couple of days - the weather reports actually gave a severe warning as to air quality!
    That was because it got warm quickly and there was no wind, so the melting snow along with some new rain created conditions where we were left to breathe the stuff we spew. You know, we (and everyone else) are used to having all the stuff we spew breathed in by someone else downwind.......

    Heck, maybe the earth is flat and it just goes off one end - with God standing on the other end blowing new air across.
    (oops, sorry, just gave creationists and anti-environmentalists and new idea....)
    :lol:
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    There was massive improvement in the actual small "real world" lab where burn bans were tested...or, more accurately, when the older stoves and fireplaces were outlawed and replaced with upgrades....same thing, really.

    It's probably time to do away altogether with dirty wood burning, with perhaps some exceptions here and there. ICC/RSF now has clean burning open fireplaces, and others are coming up with them. Why kill ourselves?

    Video here:
    http://www.woodstovechangeout.org/fileadmin/templates/clearing_the_smoke.html
  11. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    LMAO I hear that! Here it was VERY foggy yesterday so yes that is a major pollution concern.. Way back in England many people died from a similar problem when people burned coal.. Usually there is a breeze here so I pollute some other town as long as all is well here lol

    Ray
  12. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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  14. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Image is more important than impact. Consider this: who is making the regulations? Folks who wouldn't know an EPA stove from a hole in the ground. Then consider: who is impacted by the regulations? A few everyday working folks who do not remotely comprise a special interest group. Serious regulation on autos or industry is a lot tougher than picking on a small group of citizens that can easily be demonized as "polluters". Stoves run by local yokels must make smoke, let's shut 'em down, case closed.

    I can see the need for regulating open burning, smoke dragons and old OWBs, etc. in areas/times of bad air quality - but to have these bans include EPA-stoves is an unjust oversight that won't be fixed because there just aren't enough millionaires, academics, lawyers and bureaucrats who heat with wood.
  15. stonewall123

    stonewall123 Member

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    Right on the money, Branch. Think how ridiculous it sounds that there are actually government employees deployed with infrared scanners and nightvision scopes to see if people are having a woodfire to heat their home. This is America? Heck, we have an Englishmen making fun of us--and he's right! The fact that a local committee can reach into your home and make you put out the fire of your hearth with the threat of a $1000.00 fine is just sad. Every man makes his own call but I'll take my stand if these burn bans move east...
  16. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    So, if I want to change my position on this issue, which should I go with? No government regulation of privately-owned wood burning? Or government regulators elected by the voters in certain areas (counties? zip codes? voting precincts?) How do we get there? And will it improve air quality, or just make us feel like we control our own destiny, with no intrusion by big brother?

    I'm clear on why we don't like the current system. Now, let's hear some serious suggestions for change we can live with...
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There are two different types of burn bans. One is for safety. We can get very dry out here and often have summer burn bans to prevent grass and forest fires. The other is atmospheric. These usually are only during the heating months.
  18. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    It can only happen if we put well-reasoned solutions ahead of politics and posturing... unfortunately, that's a tall order.
  19. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    But don't the well-reasoned solutions need to be proposed and agreed upon? What are some suggestions?
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Put all wood burners through the hearth.com training class before they get a license to burn and have their wood piles certified for moisture content.
  21. stonewall123

    stonewall123 Member

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    I'd suggest the following: Let's assume for sake of argument that woodsmoke from stoves can negatively effect air quality. I would draft an ordinance that requires all residents to responsibly heat their homes in the winter. "responsibly" would be defined as not interfering with your neighbor's quiet use and enjoyment of his land. Instead of government enforcement agents patrolling the neighborhood, the remedy would be complaint driven. A complainer could file a complaint with the local court. There would be a special proceeding set up for this. (some communities call them nuisance courts) In order to file a complaint, a person will have to certify that they spoke to or attempted to speak to the burner about the problem and post a $250 bond, $200 of which would be refunded if the complaintant is successful. (this would eliminate 98% of frivolous claims)

    A panel of 5 people from the burner's district or county would sit and hear the evidence presented by the complaintant and the burner. No attorneys necessary, although if you wanted to hire one you could. After presenting the evidence, the panel would vote on whether the burning was an interference. If it was an interference, fine the burner $1000. Refund the $200 to the complaintant and give his additional $50 back out of the fine. If it was not an interference, the complaintant's bond goes to the county.

    If you live next to a anti-woodburning fellow, you could get several complaints a year, which would not be fair. Everytime the complaint is found not to be an interference, then the bond to have the hearing would double. Same with the fine if it is found to be an interference. Eventually, even rich people will reach a point where they will either leave the burner alone or burn responsibly. The money to run the program is generated by the fine/bond schedule.

    This moves this issue to neighbors essentially solving the problem among themselves with the government providing a neutral stage to air out the problems, which I think is more appropriate than blanket policing ordinances. Of course, this idea does not add power or size to the local governments, so a system like this would not likely be used.

    Finally, you would have to tweak this plan here and there to make it work but it is a general framework to start with...
  22. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    BeGreen,

    I agree, but I'm easy. Do others agree that wood-pile certification should be required? If so, would it be paid for directly by those with woodpiles or funded through a general government tax? Would dryness standards be set by EPA, states, or other entity?
  23. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    BackwoodsBarrister,

    Sounds good.

    Presumably, though, those with lower incomes may be those most reliant on woodburning as their sole heat source. If they don't have the $200 filing fee lying around, they'd be prohibited from filing, which would lead to more smokey emissions from lower-income neighborhoods. And only those with more disposable income would be likely to hire lawyers. This would allow the more affluent to pollute more or less than others, depending on whether they were the complainer or the complainee, right?

    Would the concept of "responsible heating" be locally defined, thus leading to those areas with more lax standards "polluting" those areas with stricter standards?

    Would "local courts" be those now defined by political boundaries, or would woodsmoke court jurisdictions need to be defined by wind patterns? Would this be defined by some government body? If not, by whom?
  24. stonewall123

    stonewall123 Member

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    Dan, you could have waivers for low income folks--or a sliding scale fee. My suggestion was just a framework. If it was a real idea, we would flesh it out more. I would submit that the current law already discrimnates against poor folks as they are the ones most likely to have a non-EPA stove, they are forced to use more expensive ways to heat their home when a stage 1 ban is in effect.

    Defining responsible burning could either be state or local but the locals themselves (the jury) would define what is too smokey in their community. There would probably be some differences across the state.

    Don't confuse hiring lawyers with being able to pollute more. I would trust the jury to sift through the fancy lawyer speak. I see it happen everyday.

    I would oppose any type of woodpile tax. My approach is to target the problem burners without causing a burden on those who burn clean.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If it's your neighborhood you want to clean up, I recommend taking it on yourselves. Get a good moisture meter and offer to test the wood. Get a write up in your local paper explaining the issues with burning wet wood, how to test and offer the service of moisture testing. Network through local community groups or online forums. Show up at local farmers markets and set up a testing area. We need to work harder on the community level and stop expecting a remote govt. to solve local issues.

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