Monday, January 15, 2007

Clearing the Air

From my weekly (AM) radio segment titled "Legal Minute".

The Federal Clean Air Act has been around for a while and you probably know that it is designed to prevent environmental dirty air culprits such as smog and hazardous air pollutants. The Act is also, technically, designed to cut back on the use of fireplaces and woodburning stoves, a luxury that many enjoy during the winter months. Wood smoke contains air pollutants that can also be cancer causing. In an effort to comply with the Clean Air Act, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in California has devised a plan that will leave many of the Central Valley's 3.5 million residents out in the cold by banning wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. If approved, the new regulations would affect approximately 500,000 households that currently have traditional wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. Residents of such households are up in arms as they depend on the warm blaze during the Valley's cold winters to save on energy costs -- which, by the way, have skyrocketed in the state over the past several years. We could all use an oil or gas fired furnace as a safer alternative or there could be a lot of cold winters ahead.