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Now THIS might kick the hornet nest.........

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by heaterman, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Attorney says manufacturer, retailer share blame for wood boiler pollution



    Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 12:07 am | Updated: 5:22 am, Wed Jun 26, 2013.
    By MATT BUXTON mbuxton@newsminer.com | 29 comments
    FAIRBANKS — The attorney defending the owners of the hydronic wood boilers near Woodriver Elementary School in a lawsuit brought by the state said the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of the boilers should share responsibility.
    The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation brought the lawsuit in January against Andrew and Gloria Straughn after receiving years of complaints about a pair of wood boilers at a rental property owned by the couple.

    Their attorney, Michael Walleri, who took the case only because the Straughns agreed to remove the boilers, said it’s an opportunity to prove that more than just the homeowners are at fault for the air pollution.
    “I basically joined because the issues are much larger than the Straughns,” he said.
    A fellow attorney provided an update on the case to the borough’s Air Pollution Control Commission on Tuesday night. Walleri spoke with the News-Miner via telephone before the event.
    He said the boilers, manufactured by Minnesota-based Central Boiler, are more problematic than the company and local dealers admit and the boilers have run against bans in other states.
    The wood boilers at the Straughn property, which Walleri said were removed from the property, had stickers showing they complied with Environmental Protection Agency regulation, but Walleri claims in practice, they weren’t.
    “They have been pushing these to people saying there is no problem,” he said. “These heaters have been banned in a number of states. ... We’ve asked to have the manufacturer and the retailer and distributor and the other people who have bought defective units and are polluting to join the lawsuit.”
    He didn’t say the conduct of the companies absolved the defendants from responsibility for the smoke in the neighborhood, but said the state should take a strong role in attacking the issue of pollution at its source.
    “Even if the Straughns have some fault in this, other people including the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer knowing these products, they share fault,” he said. “Where is the state of Alaska in defending the people from snake oil salesmen who are coming up here and selling them defective products.”

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  2. StuckInTheMuck

    StuckInTheMuck Member

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    If they are going after the manufacturers, distributers and retailers, they should also hold the federal, state and local governments responsible for enabling the purchases through the grants, loans and tax breaks.
  3. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Can't say I totally disagree with that line of reasoning.
    The EPA is at least complicit because of poor oversight. After all.........aren't they supposed to the Agency in charge of Protecting our Environment?
  4. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Oh, is that what they are supposed to do............

    TS
  5. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    I thought they were in charge of running the USA into the ground_g
  6. tronsliver

    tronsliver New Member

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    Keep in mind the language in the tax code only states that thermal efficiency needs to be 75%. It is not specific as to how the 75% needs to be measured. This loophole allows manufacturers to use testing such as EN303-5 to claim their units qualify. As stated in a previous thread EN303-5 is not designed for cycling technology. The loophole also allows the measurement to be taken using the low heat value, a controversial variable in the test. I do agree with Muck that these types of incentives send the wrong message to consumers and it misrepresents the real capabilities of the device in many cases.

    Also muddying the tax credit issue is many OWB manufacturers, using cycling technology, are claiming their units qualify based on the flawed efficiencies measured under Method 28 OWHH.
  7. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Just my two cents but these threads should really start drifting towards the ash can. Lots of smoke in the boiler room these days...
    BoilerMan and bioman like this.
  8. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Couldn't have said it better stee!

    TS
  9. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    My apologies people.
    I thought it was news worthy but also have to confess that my disdain for the EPA showed through in a later post.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    If you don't like what the EPA is doing, get active and involved so that something better happens. Because you can be sure that other people, business owners, industries, interest groups, etc. are doing just that. What happens by way of regulation is shaped by the players, not by the spectators. The recently pulled voluntary regulations on efficiency most likely were sponsored by a segment of the industry to protect their businesses, you know, "save jobs," provide money for political campaigns, ride the less government bandwagon, protect "free enterprise," whatever. The outcome was not only meaningless but harmful information to the consumer, and also harmful by failing to better provide clean air, etc.

    What's probably going on now is a shakeup, in the industry, in the EPA itself, and in a big enough part of the public who are sick of spewing smoke. New regulations on clean air and efficiency will be shaped by all of this. The outcome may be messy, and may be made messier by political contributions by the various businesses and interest groups who want their congress people to influence the outcome in one way or another to protect their particular point of view and their profits.

    The arguments by many will be less government, private property, free enterprise, freedom. I frankly don't give a rat's *ss about these arguments when clouds of particulate and chemical laden smoke or emissions drift over my house, visible or not, and poison me and my children, or drift over the fields and forests and poison other living things. I want government, big or small, to better insure clean air, because I know that individual businesses care little about clean air. They care about $$$ profits. And I care little about private property, free enterprise or freedom when I and my children are being poisoned by others asserting that they can do what they want because this is a free country -- free to do what? - poison others? Not in my book.

    We all are free to pursue out interests and profits, but none of us are free to do that in ways that harm the health and safety of other people and other living things. Let the EPA do what it is supposed to do and come out with regulations that better ensure our health and safety. And that will have a cost which I would rather pay now to have a healthier and safer life than pay later through increased medical bills and diminished quality and length of life.
  11. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    Drift to ash can? No.

    I agree get active and involved.

    This and other threads on this topic are informative to me. Understanding what drives the regulations and the outcome of products as it pertains to wood boilers is very educational.
  12. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Agreed on the ash can drift. Also agree on the "get active and get involved".

    The world is run by those who show up.
  13. arbutus

    arbutus Feeling the Heat

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    Get active and involved is right!

    The township where we used to live proposed and then implemented a wind energy ordinance that was extremely restrictive on residential systems.

    A neighbor of mine showed up to ask for additional leeway.
    I showed up and demonstrated a homemade wind energy device that was a science project with a fan blade and a RC car motor, and would have been subject to permits, inspections, setbacks, PERFORMANCE BONDS! and all kinds of nonsense.

    We got some of the leeway we asked for - allowed height being a big one. The original height limit was 65 feet, which doesn't do any good when the trees are 65 feet high. We had it raised to 100 feet, got the UL requirement removed, and a few other minor things.


    The preamble to the ordinance stated something along the lines of promoting wind energy systems, but the restrictions did everything but promote.


    Setbacks, safe fall distances, wiring per NEC, these things I understand going into a wind ordinance, but base them in reality rather than boiler plate language from the planner, which the commission knows nothing about, does not care to learn about, and is willing to implement blindly.
    BoilerMan and StuckInTheMuck like this.
  14. leon

    leon New Member

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    Whoopsie,

    Maybe now they will seriously look at building a better firebox
    with firebrick using a 2 or three fire tubes in water like the Garn and the
    Switzer hybrid to make a better combustion chamber but I doubt it.:eek:
  15. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    This is a great example of what can happen when people who have no interest in, or are completly uneducated about a subject, craft laws/ordinances. I am vary active in my local gov't. I want to know how my $$$$ is being spent, and what it is spend on. We just had our second vote on a residential building code adoption. It was shot down last year, so they brought it back again for another vote (man I love that kind of thinking:rolleyes: ) Well I was quite vocal about how I had actually built a home in our town and how this new code would have effected my design and wasted material that I'd paid for. Ultimatly forcing me to either build smaller of borrow more $$$$. My house would be considered grandfathererd but against code as it has no frost walls. Long story short, the proposed code did not pass, but the selectmen could not figure out why it was not 100% wonderfully perfect, w/o some people speaking intellegently about the other side of the issue.
    Our country was founded on freedom, and it takes more than one special interest and balanced arguements for one to draw a conclusion.

    Jim you have a great point, but that too can be taken too far. At what point do we call
    an end to this?

    What constitutes "human safety"? Is it safe to ride a motorcycle, do we all need to wear seatbelts? Should houses be allowed to have energy robbing and water filled basements? Am I harming something by having my computer on right now and useing electricity in my life of excess.

    I worked as a Master Automotive mechanic for many years. We started seeing a rash of breakline failures on vehicles that were less than 5 years old. Upon further examination and reasearch we found that automotive manufacturers were required to remove an anticorrosion additive in the steel to make breaklines because it had been found to be a carsinigen. Well now people are at a lower risk of cancer from working in facilities that manufacture break line but people were having sudden break failures causing all sorts of bad things. This is the type of thinking that makes me leary of regulation of many things. SS could have been used, but that cuts into profits and the steel still gets them out of warranty (another subject).

    There are many sides to these types of issues. As far as OWBs I for one am for setback laws that are reasonable. If there are so many (real) complaints about a certain installation/ individual etc.

    No matter what we do, or refrain from doing, there will always be a people group somewhere that thinks we are total idiots or immoral for our lifestyle. If we take certain freedoms away from people just because we do not agree with them or their way of life then we are no longer the United States of America.

    TS
  16. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Your question is well-placed. And there is no black and white answer. Many regulations relating to safety, at least at the federal level, require a cost-benefit analysis before they may be implemented. Don't get me wrong because I'm not claiming this is the the answer, but it is a step that can lead to better regulations. It seems that so often a low cost - high profit but great harm to others is the "freedom" the profit-maker people seek. What about the people who pay the "cost" of that action? While at the same time alternatives exist which are much safer, although usually, but not always at higher cost and lower profit. All of this is a balance; easier sometimes to talk about in theory than to implement in practice.

    If we get back to OWB "smoke dragons," especially when a neighbor has one that blows lots of smoke through your windows, the answer seems a bit easier, mostly because the harm is visible, immediate and direct and because relatively economical design and technology exist which solves the problem. But what if the OWB smoke dragon is on property where no one would even notice the smoke? Is it then OK? In my mind probably "not" because humans are not the only lives that are important. If the smoke is not good for humans to breathe then it probably also is not good for the birds, deer, and the other multitude of living things. The earth is not just for humans.

    At the same time the OWB and its predecessors were OK when that was the only feasible technology available and when we didn't know the harmful effects of spewing smoke. We now have much better technology and we know a lot more about the effects of air pollution. Things change, and what we are free to do changes also.

    Some freedoms are near absolute, although even these are at risk from all sides of the political equation. On this 5th of July the freedoms of speech, press and religion remain near absolute, although attacks come from all sides on each of these in the name of national security or one local majority religion think only it over all others has the true word and connection to the deity. And each one of us can persuasively argue that even these freedoms need to be either curtailed or protected.

    One thing is near certain in all of this (County Crows, "Big Yellow Taxi," lyrics Jone Mitchell):

    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    With a pink hotel, a boutique
    And a swinging hot spot

    Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you've got til its gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot

    They took all the trees
    And put 'em in a tree museum
    And they charged the people
    A dollar and a half to seem 'em

    Don't it always seem to go,
    That you don't know what you've got
    Til its gone ....
    Frozen Canuck likes this.

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