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Health, Science & Environment

Air Quality Board Seeking Public Comment on Wood Burning Ban

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Rocky Mountain Stove & Fireplace
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  In his State of the State address to the legislature last January, Governor Gary Herbert suggested a season-long ban on wood burning as a way to improve Utah’s winter air quality.  The state Air Quality Board will decide soon whether to make that the law. 

Wood burning is already banned for the Wasatch Front and in Cache County on bad air days.  The new rule proposed this week would extend that through the whole winter season from November to March.

A public comment period on the new rule begins January 1st.  Kerry Kelly is a member of the Utah Air Quality Board.  She says there might be room for  compromise.

Kerry tells KUER, “Do you want to look at a uniform wood burning ban? Do you want a shorter, seasonal ban?  They’re accepting comments on all permutations of this proposal.”

AnikaPickrell is co-owner of Rocky Mountain Stove and Fireplace in Ogden.  She says new technology reduces particulate emissions from wood stoves and fireplaces by 95%.  And she says the state needs to hear from people who use them.

“This clean-burning wood stove that we have has been one of our biggest sellers in the last three years," Pickrell tells KUER, "and we’re planning on contacting all of those customers to let them know that they need to make their voices heard as well.”

The rule would still exempt people who use wood as the only source of heat for their homes.  But the state has also been providing incentives for homeowners to convert from wood burning to natural gas heat.

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