New wood boiler regs passed

It's already illegal to burn garbage in all but the least populated areas of the state, but these are often the places where boilers are more popular.

Assemblyman Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, said he'd like to see the DEC aggressively enforce fuel source rules rather than making other standards. The assemblyman, who has a wood burning heater in his basement, said an 18-foot smokestack is far too tall for most residential boiler units.

"The regulations that were proposed were flawed in a significant way," he said. "I think what the DEC should have done is focus more on the rules we already have rather than create new ones."

He also cautioned that plans to phase out older boilers would not be well received by his rural constituents.

"These units are not inexpensive," Jordan said. "None of these people who are proposing these regulations probably have an outdoor wood furnace."

A 2008 report from the Attorney General's office found 14,500 outdoor wood boilers had been sold in New York state between 1999 and 2007. The boilers, which typically heat water in a structure removed from the house which is then pumped in for heat, can be a more economical option for some homeowners and farmers than purchasing oil or gas.

Another report from that office described outdoor wood boilers as "among the dirtiest and least economical modes of heating, especially when improperly used."

Some municipalities in the state have already have their own laws governing where and how outdoor wood boilers may be used, and other northeast states like Vermont and Massachusetts have passed regulations. Severino said the complaints the DEC and other agencies receive about smoke blowing into neighboring homes or across roadways easily rival the quantity of opposition to regulation.

"Standards needed to be set for these," she said. "The overall goal of this is to be protective of peoples' public health and the state air quality.""

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