Tougher San Joaquin Valley woodburning rules begin in 6 week

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Tougher San Joaquin Valley woodburning rules begin in 6 week

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:22 pm

Tougher San Joaquin Valley wood-burning rules begin in 6 weeks

By Mark Grossi

The Fresno BeeSeptember 18, 2014 Updated 4 hours ago

San Joaquin Valley air leaders on Thursday approved tighter wood-burning rules aimed at about 240,000 homes creating 95% of the dangerous soot from fireplaces and older wood-burning heaters.

The rules could result in 85 no-burn days for Fresno County alone -- and it all starts in about six weeks. The burning bans, which have become familiar over the last 11 years, will be triggered when particle pollution is at significantly lower levels than in the past.

But there's a big exception. If you own the latest federally certified wood-burning heater and register it with the local air district, you can light up on many days when pollution is well beyond the health standard.

Even so, officials with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District say the new rule will remove up to 5 tons of dangerous soot daily, which is many times more pollution than other air rules these days.

"The new, certified devices are 20 to 50 times cleaner than an open hearth fireplace or the high-polluting, older heaters," said Seyed Sadredin, district executive director. "If you register one of these devices with the district, we estimate you will see only two to six days when you can't burn."

The complex rule is considered a cornerstone in the district's attack on microscopic soot, chemicals and other specks, called PM-2.5. The Valley's PM-2.5 pollution is among the worst in the country.

The tiny specks are considered more dangerous than ozone. Studies say PM-2.5 is the cause for most of the Valley's 800 premature deaths blamed on air pollution.

Health studies show fireplace soot, which contains carcinogens, can pass through the body's defenses and trigger asthma and heart disease. Doors and windows will not stop the tiny particles, air district staffers said.

In 2003, the district encountered bitter opposition when voluntary guidelines for residential wood-burning changed to mandatory rules with fines. The rules were further tightened six years ago, resulting in more violations and fines.

But the district has always retained an exemption for residents who have no access to natural gas. The exemption remains in the latest amendment.

The Valley air board accepted the proposal, which includes $2.1 million that residents can tap to partially pay for the latest certified wood-burning units.

The price for the devices averages about $3,000, and residents can get grants up to $1,500. Qualified low-income applicants can get up to $2,500.

Environmental critics, such as Tom Frantz of Shafter in Kern County, said the rule changes made no sense because the district will allow clean-burning devices on some of the Valley's worst winter days.

"I can't understand why you would pass a rule that may actually make things worse," Frantz said.

But even if every clean-burning device was used at once, it would amount to only a tiny fraction of the amount of pollution that is eliminated by shutting down fireplaces and older heaters, air district officials said.

Aside from a little smoke at startup, the clean burning devices don't send out visible emissions, they said.

"If you see smoke, it's out of compliance," said board member Alexander C. Sherriffs, a Valley physician who was appointed to the air board by the governor.

The rule is pegged to the district's pollution forecast, and it has two stages:

• 1. If the forecast in your county is 20 micrograms per cubic meter or higher for the next day, you can't burn unless you have the certified device -- and it's registered with the district.

• 2. When the forecast says the air will be a stifling 65 micrograms or higher, no burning will be allowed. The daily federal standard is an average of 35 micrograms.

A representative of Stockton-based Duraflame Inc., which sells efficient-burning, manufactured fire logs, recommended against passing the new rule. The company has lost business since no-burn days began years ago.

Brand manager Crystal Wohle said the existing wood-burning rule has greatly reduced pollution.

"The rule should be left as it is," she said.

But air district leaders said the Valley needs the rule to help achieve the tough federal PM-2.5 standard.

The board on Thursday also voted to ask federal officials to extend the Valley's PM-2.5 cleanup deadline from next year to 2019.

"We can't meet the 2019 deadline without this rule," said Sadredin.

source ... -wood.html
• 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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