no-burn days would jump from 24 to 53 under proposal

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no-burn days would jump from 24 to 53 under proposal

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:35 pm

Number of S.J. no-burn days would jump from 24 to 53 under proposal

By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
August 01, 2014 12:00 AM

Air quality cops may clamp down even tighter on residential wood-burning starting next winter, if they approve a plan that would more than double the number of no-burn days in San Joaquin County.

On average, burning here would be outlawed 53 days during the wintertime, up from an average of 24 days under existing rules.

Depending on conditions, burn prohibitions would likely become much more routine from November through February.

But there's a way to avoid all of that.

Residents willing to upgrade from older, dirtier fireplaces and wood stoves to newer, cleaner units might actually be able to burn more often than they have in the past. The draft plan would allow them to continue to burn - up to a certain level - even while their neighbors with older units cannot.

The new, tiered approach is an effort to persuade more people to upgrade, said air quality officials. A new stove may be 20 times cleaner than a regular open fireplace, they said.

"We are not doing away with all wood burning," said Jaime Holt, a spokeswoman for the air district. "In many cases, if they upgrade to a cleaner device they'll be burning a lot more than they could have last year."

Those who do upgrade would be required to register their new devices with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and pay a $12.50 fee. Registration would also require inspection by a professional, and would have to be renewed every three years.

Regulating fireplaces and adding new fees is always controversial, but officials said other sources of pollution, such as factories and power plants, have already been subjected to hundreds of rules and have spent billions of dollars to comply.

Meanwhile, residential smoke remains a problem in the winter, particularly on stagnant days when air is trapped inside the bowl-shaped Valley.

Beefing up the no-burn rule would cut back on tiny, harmful airborne particles by 4 tons per day across the Valley, officials said, helping to prevent respiratory illnesses and premature deaths.

A workshop on the proposal Thursday night was lightly attended, despite potential implications for residents from Stockton to Bakersfield.

"This is a joke," said one man who did not give his name. "There's nobody here. If you don't think this isn't going to affect people, it is - big time."

District officials responded that they understood the importance of the rule and would work on public outreach in the coming months. The changes could be approved as soon as September.

Registering a clean, federally certified heater this first year would be free. The cost and inspection requirement would kick in next year, officials said.

They added that the $12.50 registration would help pay for some of the administrative costs of the program.

Incentives to help people upgrade to cleaner devices may also increase, to a maximum of $1,500 per unit or $2,500 per unit for low-income residents.

Contact reporter Alex Breitler at (209) 546-8295 or abreitler@recordnet.com. Follow him at http://www.recordnet.com/breitlerblog and on Twitter @alexbreitler.

source
http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ ... /408010323
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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