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Rural residents fired up over proposed regulations for wood boilers

By Billie Owens

The overwhelming majority of those who attended a public hearing at Genesee Community College on Monday oppose rule changes for operating wood boilers.

About 14,000 New Yorkers have wood-boiler heaters as their primary source of heat in cold weather. Proposed regulations are said to make them unaffordable and costly to retrofit, creating an economic hardship for rural residents, according to Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

His chief of staff was among more than 100 people who attended the local hearing.

Residents have until July 2 to submit written comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation and Hawley is urging them to keep up their grassroots campaign urging the DEC to scrap the plans.

The agency is conducting public hearings statewide, giving information about the newly proposed regulations and getting feedback from those affected by them.

The DEC proposal would impose new regulations on operating requirements for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers. Outdoor wood boilers would have to be at least 100 feet from neighboring properties and would have to be at least 18 feet in height.

New York is the only state considering new regulations on existing wood boilers.

“Purchasing and installing new wood boilers can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000," Hawley said in a news release. "At that price, these new restrictions are simply
unaffordable for many people whose boilers already meet the current DEC regulations.

"With only about a hundred complaints over the last four years leading to these proposed regulations, clearly this is just another example of a downstate-controlled government agency circumventing the legislature to enforce a mandate."

Jeremiah Pedro

I agree with Andrew.
The budget needs to be priority number one.
There needs to be accountability for my money that the state government is spending. If by law I have to give them my money, then why shouldn't they be required to pass a budget in a reasonable amount of time.

Jun 16, 2010, 10:00pm Permalink
Lincoln DeCoursey

Mr. Hawley & other rural residents are free to get "fired up" over the issue, but I don't see the point. DEC regulators are state-level political appointees, so they're quite secure in their positions: as far as I know, no pollster is predicting anything like a major paradigm shift in the governor's office.

By the time the DEC announces public hearings and solicits public comments regarding a potential new regulation, I suspect that they've already made their final decision.

Jun 17, 2010, 12:19am Permalink
Chuck Lowder

Isn't wood a renewal source of energy? Isn't that one of the aims that the US needs to head towards? I wonder who is throwing the money to the DEC to get this passed? Is BP behind this? (Their crooked enough to be...)

Jun 17, 2010, 2:13am Permalink
Brian Elliott

As an person with asthma, I can tell you first hand that outdoor wood boilers in an urban setting create limitations hindering the quality of life for me. I enjoy walking and biking for exercise when possible. There is a residence in the hamlet in which I live that utilizes an outdoor wood burning boiler for thier primary heat source. The smoke hangs in the village and fills the air making outdoors exercise impossible for me as I can not catch my breath in smokey conditions. For anyone who doesn't have a breathing ailment, outdoor burning doesn't present any problem. I strongly support legislative controls concerning burning in densley populated areas. If you live in the country where the smoke you generate does not infringe upon the rights and quality of life for others I say burn away but in the confines of towns, villages or citys all forms of burning should banned, period. Remember the days of smoke filled restaurants?

Jun 17, 2010, 8:58am Permalink
JT Hunt

Excuse me whilst i drive 79 mph (they give ya 9mph here) on free interstate (promotes jobs, tourism, biz) as my

uninspected car (no tailpipe sniffin computers linked to

my state capital) guzzles down my $2.59 gal/gas (not

great, but hey, we are all gettin screwed). Maybe I'll

call you as i do so. Most likely I'd yell "LIVE

FREE OR DIE!" and then hang up as I laughed. :)

Jun 17, 2010, 10:50am Permalink

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