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June 1, 2010 - 12:30pm

Farm bureau urges rural residents to fight proposed restrictions on outdoor wood boilers

posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, farm bureau, rural.

Here's a press release from the New York Farm Bureau:

The New York Farm Bureau today announced a fight-back campaign against proposed Department of Environmental Conservation regulations that aim to restrict the use of outdoor wood boilers in rural New York.

"This is another attempt by Albany bureaucrats to single out the rural residents of New York," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau. "DEC's decision on restricting the use of outdoor wood boilers will literally impact thousands of farmers and rural landowners across the state."

"Rural New Yorkers have been heating their homes with wood since the first Dutch settlers came up the Hudson," Norton said. "We all know it gets extremely cold in New York and DEC's actions will just drive residents back to using costly oil heat -- leaving a much cleaner renewable resource unused."

The Farm Bureau will rally its 30,000 members to fight these proposed regulations and will be lobbying furiously in the halls of Albany.

Thousands of owners of outdoor wood boilers will be forced to retrofit costly smokestacks to meet new DEC height requirements, limit the use of their units for almost half of the year and ultimately prohibit the use of any outdoor wood boiler that does not meet new, strict DEC emissions requirements.

The proposed regulations will have significant financial implications for farm and rural homeowners that heat their houses, barns and greenhouses.

"DEC's proposal is an overly broad plan to address the relatively few complaints that they have received about air-quality impacts from outdoor wood boilers," said Jeff Williams, Farm Bureau's deputy director of Public Policy. "This regulation punishes thousands of honest people that own outdoor wood boilers, use their own wood from their property and operate their units responsibly."

New York State residents will be required to retrofit their current units and then take their outdoor wood boilers out of service before the end of the unit's useful life and lose a major investment that can cost upwards of $10,000.

The owners can make the decision to purchase either a new, more expensive, outdoor wood boiler or return to non-renewable, petroleum-based fuels or natural gas.

"It must be pointed out that DEC does not provide any financial reimbursement or incentives for the retrofitting of smokestacks or the purchase of a new, compliant outdoor wood boiler," Williams said. "It is like the government telling you that you have to switch out your farm truck for a hybrid-electric car, but you have to pay for it yourself. It doesn't make sense."

DEC is holding a series of public information sessions/hearings around the state this month on the proposal. Farmers and rural residents are encouraged to go to <www.nyfb.org> for the hearing schedule, talking points and to send an e-lobby letter opposing the regulations to DEC and your state legislators.

Written comments will also be accepted by DEC until July 2.

Dave Marien
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Hmmm.... Lets see... NYS cant tax fire wood if its being cut and burnt from someones own land, but they can tax other sources of heating energy. I wonder why they would do this?
william tapp
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NYS sucks vote out all incumbents , we have had all we can take of this. we all need to retake our state .
Mike Weaver
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This is the sort of thing that needs to be handled at the local level. The state has no business telling rural landowners that they cannot use an OWB when these folks are allowed open burning of brush. If population densities are high enought that there may be a problem for neighbors, it can be handled through local zoning ordinances. This is garbage "feel good" legislation. Nothing more. Typical nanny state stuff. OMG!! THE AIR QUALITY!!
Thomas Schneider
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The sad truth is this isn't even legislation. Its some unelected group of bureaucrats imposing their will on the citizens. The same group imposed the so called open burning laws last year. If our representatives didn't have a vote on these so called laws, I say ignore it.

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