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Ash and particulates. Photo: DEC
Ash and particulates. Photo: DEC

DEC delays wood boiler regs

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Environmental officials unexpectedly delayed a proposed law limiting the use of wood boilers in northern New York.

The outdoor furnaces have been found to disperse ash and other particulate matter known to cause cancer. And many people have complained about low-lying smoke from the wood boilers.

As Jonathan Brown reports, the DEC wants people to change their boilers--and the way they use them.

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The proposed law would force owners to update their wood boilers to make them 90 percent more efficient.

And the DEC wants to limit when these furnaces are used.

Across all of western and northern New York, the new law would prohibit the use of wood boilers from June 1st to the end of August. Downstate, it’s an even longer window.

Another regulation in the DEC’s proposal limits the kind of fuel people can use—no garbage and no smoky, green wood.

Anyone buying a new wood boiler has to place it at least 100 feet from a neighbor’s property line and the exhaust pipe has to be high enough to keep smoke above neighboring homes.

The DEC was scheduled to discuss the final version of the new law yesterday in Albany, and submit it for consideration to the state’s environmental board. If approved, the law would go into effect in about 30 days.

Speaking with NCPR, spokeswoman Lori Severino declined to talk on tape and would not explain why the DEC was delaying submission of the new law.

She said the agency wants to hear more from New Yorkers who use wood boilers and from people who live near them.

Severino said a new comment period is being scheduled, though she couldn’t give exact dates.

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