Welcome to Clean Air Rights for Everyone of NY. 

Fresh Air.  Open your window and feel the breeze.  Maybe you can smell fresh mown grass or the flowers on the tree outside your window.  You probably would not want to open your window and be hit with a big cloud of smoke, but that is what thousands of NYers (and thousands in other States) are faced with every day.  What smoke you might be thinking.

The smoke many NYers are forced to breathe is that of their neighbor’s wood BOILER.

Wood Boilers can be installed indoors or outdoors.  They are “designed”  to cut the oxygen supply to the burning wood causing it to smolder.  The smoldering  wood releases a terrible stench that people often think is burning garbage but is most likely the smell of the built up creosote.  The smoldering wood also emits huge plumes of smoke.  Smoke that is dense and stays at ground level entering people’s homes, yards, and lungs.  It makes it impossible to open windows, for children to play in their yards, to eat on your deck, to hang clothes on the line. It causes serious illness since the wood smoke has dangerous fine particulate known as PM 2.5 and many of the same carcinogens as cigarette smoke.  The sad part is you can leave a room if someone is smoking but you can not move your house if your neighbor is smoking you out.

The smoke can be year round because people use wood boilers to heat hot water, swimming pools and hot tubs.

Wood boilers are NOT regulated by EPA.  Here’s hoping you never live downwind of one.

Here is a video link from NY so you can see what it is like to live next to a  Wood Boiler:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WqCAMsrQyM

Here are some links that will provide more information:

http://www.vtwoodsmoke.org/pdf/NY-OWB8-05.pdf  — 2005 NY Attorney General Report, Smoke Gets in Your Lungs

http://www.ehhi.org/reports/woodsmoke/ — Environment and Human Health report, The Dangers to Health from Outdoor Wood Furnaces

http://www.nescaum.org/documents/assessment-of-outdoor-wood-fired-boilers — link to Northeast States Coordinated Air Use Management’s report, An Assessment of Outdoor Wood Boilers

NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has shut down wood boilers in Regions 4 and 9, but it often takes them years and only if the person living downwind is persistent and completes a SMOKE LOG available on their website.  In  some cases DEC Regional staff document violations, collect a small fine and allow continued burning with emissions that are the same as those for which the fine was imposed.  In other Regions DEC allows the pollution during the “winter” months so people have “part-time” pollution to endure.   In some DEC Regions staff often tell people there are no laws and leave them suffering. 

DEC central office staff  “defend” this  uneven enforcement because “Regions have their own leadership.”  How is it then that in 2003 DEC central office sent manufacturers a letter advising their wood boilers violated current NY law. Did they not advise the Regional Staff?  Since that letter was sent DEC has had 4 Commissioners and 2 acting Commissioners.

Why the uneven enforcement of NY laws?  Good question.  So far Governor Cuomo and his newly appointed DEC Commissioner, Joseph Martens, have chosen to ignore New York’s Rural NYers.  This is an Environmental Justice issue that needs action.

Part 247 recently enacted by DEC is unenforceable, not health protective and a poor solution.  NY needs an Emission Standard as the State of Washington has had for 20 years — to close the EPA donut hole— and has the State of Oregon passed.

This blog is dedicated to the dissemination of information about wood boilers in the hopes that the now estimated 500,000 people in the U.S. exposed to the 900,000 TONS of fine particulate being emitted per year by wood boilers can share information and join together to stop this assault on our air quality. (see www.nescaum.org for data)

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