[Stoves] 30th anniversary - EPA's war against woodstoves

Ronal W. Larson rongretlarson at comcast.net
Sat Aug 6 21:15:46 MDT 2016


List: cc Crispin

	1.  Clearly a wonderful addition to our list dialog.  Fits in perfectly with this description from  http://stoves.bioenergylists.org/about <http://stoves.bioenergylists.org/about>:

	“ This site contains topics and information discussed on the Biomass Cooking Stoves email list to help develop better stoves for cooking with biomass fuels in developing regions."


	2.  And it supports what we all believe is a major problem for developing country stoves (emphasis added):  “Oxygen-starved fires also produce more carbon monoxide, instead of harmless carbon dioxide.”


	3.  And so important that we can celebrate the Nov. 30 30th anniversary in August!  Great!


	4.   The only drawback I find is that there is no mention of Mr.  Wald’s expertise in nuclear energy - as that is how he is now employed.  Obviously heating with nuclear powered electricity is the way to go - much superior to any biomass option - especially in developing countries.

	5.  Well actually one more concern - we don’t see enough of these pertinent papers from (almost) 30 years ago.  Obviously that was a time of real knowledge on this list’s area of interest.

	6.  Oops - I almost forgot to thank Mr.  Wald for his enthusiastic support for EPA and his concern for costs.


Let’s have more like this - that are so pertinent to our stove list mission.


Ron
	




> On Aug 6, 2016, at 2:22 PM, Crispin Pemberton-Pigott <crispinpigott at outlook.com> wrote:
> 
> http://www.nytimes.com/1986/11/30/us/wood-stoves-facing-curbs-as-polluters.html <http://www.nytimes.com/1986/11/30/us/wood-stoves-facing-curbs-as-polluters.html>
> 
> 
> WOOD STOVES FACING CURBS AS POLLUTERS
> By MATTHEW L. WALD, Special to the New York Times
> Published: November 30, 1986
> BOSTON, Nov. 29— In the war against air pollution the new target is neither the smokestack nor the tailpipe but the chimney.
> 
> Early next year the Federal Environmental Protection Agency is to propose emission limits for wood-burning stoves like those for automobiles or factories. Many stoves will be equipped with catalytic converters to cut down their smoke, as automobiles were a decade ago to cut down exhaust gases.
> 
> The rules will add hundreds of dollars to the cost of new stoves, but environmentalists and government officials say the regulations will also reduce the cancer-causing chemicals and excessive particle matter that some wood stoves emit. #12 Million Units in Use The E.P.A. says the 12 million wood stoves now in use produce about 15 percent of the national emission of very minute particles, or particulates, and 40 percent of the emission of certain chemicals created in fires that are starved for oxygen. These include several carcinogens, according to the agency. Oxygen-starved fires also produce more carbon monoxide, instead of harmless carbon dioxide.
> 
> The rules will help reduce the problem in places where cold winter nights end with what looks like a London fog but is more pungent. ''It's the problem of people waking up in the morning and they can't see the house next door,'' said Stephen S. Perkins, an air quality engineer at the E.P.A. office here.
> 
> The regulations cover ''residential wood combustion devices,'' which are defined as ''closed-chambered, combustion air controlled appliances, such as freestanding woodstoves, fireplace inserts and wood burning cookstoves.'' Ordinary fireplaces would not be affected, because the flow of air to the fire is not controlled, but fireplace inserts, which are usually metal boxes that fit in the fireplace and use the existing flue, would be covered.
> 
> There is no move now at the Federal level to require that existing stoves meet the new regulations, although a few smaller jurisdictions have taken that step.
> 
> The rules came in the wake of actions such as these by states and cities:
> 
> * Amherst, Mass., began requiring this year that for every house with a wood stove, wood furnace or a device, a fireplace insert, to make a hearth more efficient, someone in the household must get a license to run the stove. If an improperly run fire puts out too much smoke, the city may fine the homeowner up to $500.
> 
> * Telluride, Colo., now issues permits for new wood stoves only if the builder can persuade two other residents to give up theirs. The market price to get a resident to give up his permit is up to $1,000. On Oct. 15 the town began offering a bounty of $750 to anyone who replaces a wood heating system with natural gas.
> 
> * Last month Denver's City Council, for a one-year trial period, made it illegal to burn wood in stoves or fireplaces on days when air pollution is high. Mayor Federico Pena estimated that the ban could reduce the city's ''brown cloud'' as much as one-fourth on the 10 to 15 such days from Nov. 15 to Jan. 15.
> 
> * Lane County, Ore., has a voluntary program to curtail burning from November through February when atmospheric conditions are unfavorable, much as drivers in Los Angeles are asked to take the bus to fight summer smog.
> 
> * In July, Oregon began prohibiting the sale of wood stoves that do not meet state standards, and Colorado will do the same Jan. 1. Happening 'All Over'
> 
> ''All across the United States it's happening,'' said Leslie A. Sherlock, town clerk of Telluride, who is the former chairman of an environmental commission there. ''I don't think we're the only oddballs,'' she said, adding that for the 1,000 residents of the town, which is in a canyon, ''our air quality is becoming as important as grocery prices.''
> 
> New Hampshire was considering rules on wood stoves before the Federal Government said it would act.
> 
> Wood stoves and fireplaces are allowed in New York City if they meet fire safety rules, according to Martha Holstein, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, but she added, ''Black smoke is not permitted.''
> 
> The department issues notices of violation for furnaces and other devices that produce black smoke, and these can lead to a fine of $250 or more and a hearing, she said, but she added, ''We don't generally find that violations occur for the wood stoves and fireplaces.'' Neither is commonly used for heating in the city, she said.
> 
> Connecticut has scattered problems with wood smoke pollution in valley areas but has no regulations, according to James R. Royce, a senior air pollution engineer at the Department of Environmental Protection in Hartford. New Jersey has no regulations, either, according to a spokesman for that state's Department of Environmental Protection, James M. Staples. He added, however, that in New Jersey ''this fallacy of burning wood as an evironmental thing has caught people's fancy.''
> 
> Two years ago New York State moved to tighten safety regulations, but the Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany does not know of any state rules on pollution from wood stoves, according to a spokesman, John F. Moore.
> 
> The new Federal regulations, according to Michael S. Deland, regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for New England, address ''the personal nature of the environmental regulatory movement,'' and the targets are increasingly consumer products like cars or fireplace inserts rather than factory equipment. Tracing to the Arab Embargo
> 
> Problems with wood smoke first became apparent when the Arab oil embargo and later the Iranian revolution sent millions of American homeowners looking for a fuel that was cheaper or simply available. Areas with winter temperature inversions and towns with a lot of wood stoves have developed heavy hazes. Most of the problems are in the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest and New England.
> 
> But in central Illinois sales of wood stoves have recently risen. This was in part because of increases in electric rates to cover the cost of building nuclear power plants, according to people in the wood stove business.
> 
> According to Robert Pettyjohn, assistant fire chief in Urbana, Ill., the pollution is ''not nearly like leaf burning,'' adding, ''At that time of year, we get 50 calls a day, people sneezing and complaining.'' But on some cold nights, he said, the wood stove pollution ''is just as bad.''
> 
> The idea that something as old-fashioned and pleasant-smelling as a wood stove can be unhealthy has been slow to take hold in some areas. But, according to an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the environmental group whose lawsuit against the Federal Government led to the new regulations, the hazard is not new. A Pall Over Towns and Cities
> 
> In the last century many towns and cities had a visible pall from wood smoke, according to the attorney, David D. Doniger. ''Probably if you had modern scientists looking at the health of these people, you would find a lot of lung disease related to this,'' he said, adding that in frontier areas, ''if they didn't die of gunshot woulds in poker games, they could die of pollution.''
> 
> Another factor, according to some experts, may be the industry's building stoves big enough to burn all night with a low air supply. That creates a smoldering fire that can put out 35 grams of particles an hour. Some of the older stoves put out as much as 70 grams an hour, as against prescribed limits in the regulation of 7.5 grams by 1990 for new stoves without catalytic converters and 4.1 grams for new stoves with the converters. An intermediate limit would be imposed in 1988.
> 
> The catalytic converter reduces wood stoves' pollution by recycling and reburning the smoke. The devices will not work until the temperature of the flue gases reaches 500 to 600 degrees.
> 
> The company's cleanest-burning model sells for $1,200, of which $300 is the cost for the new technology, said Richard R. Clayton, the president of Vermont Castings Inc., which says it is the largest domestic manufacturer of wood stoves. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that on most stoves, the additional cost would be $100 to $250.
> 
> Photo of Richard Russo with his wood burning stove (NYT/Rich Friedman)(Page 36‎)
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