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."