Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Comments on Proposed Rulemaking - Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers

New regulations coming! Please express your comments to the EQB as listed below.
PA State Grange

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Letter to Citizens of Pennsylvania from Hawken Energy

Dear Pennsylvania Citizens,

You are about to have a new regulation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that is going to cost each of you a large sum of money - at least $800 each immediately, and then several thousands of dollars each year in the future. Will you be able to vote on this? NO.

Will you be able to even vote an elected representative out of office for passing this new regulation? NO.

This new regulation is being proposed by the Environmental Quality Board of Pennsylvania. And we cannot do anything to stop them, except let our voices be heard. More on that later.

This "Board" has decided to attempt to regulate how citizens of PA use wood as a fuel. If you currently use wood to heat your home with an outdoor wood furnace, the Board wants to regulate you. We find this mystifying because of the following reasons:

1. Wood is a renewable fuel that has been safely used since the beginning of recorded history.
2. Wood does not harm the environment. Fossil fuels DO harm the environment. Wood does not add greenhouse gasses to the environment - Fossil fuels DO.
3. The proposed regulation was prepared using grossly flawed data.
4. This regulation will damage the economy of Pennsylvania by killing jobs, and by increasing the heating cost of many homeowners by over 400 percent.
5. The Commonwealth consists primarily of heavily-wooded, rural areas. It makes no sense to burden the citizens of our entire Commonwealth with a rule that really only applies to densely populated areas that constitute a tiny portion of the Commonwealth.

Here is what the proposed regulation will require:

1. If you do not yet have an outdoor wood furnace but want to purchase one, you will have to purchase one of the "EPA Approved" furnaces that were developed for use in densely populated cities - even if you live in the country or on a 100-acre farm!

2. These "EPA Approved" furnaces cost approximately 400 percent more per BTU of output than traditional outdoor wood furnaces. Because of this high cost, very few people are purchasing these "EPA Approved" furnaces - one company that sold them has even gone bankrupt.

3. If you currently own an outdoor furnace, but it gets old and needs to be replaced, you will be required to pay 400 percent more for the higher cost, "EPA Approved" furnace.

4. If you currently own a furnace, you will automatically and retroactively be forced to spend roughly $800 to install a chimney stack extension that extends your furnace chimney to a height 10 feet above the ground. If another home is within 500 feet of your furnace, the regulation retroactively requires you to extend your chimney even higher.


I have prepared a 9-page letter to the Board to outline for them why such regulation is a bad idea. I have attached this letter to my company blog for you to read if you are interested. The link to the letter is as follows:
http://blog.hawkenenergy.com/2009/12/letter-to-environmental-quality-board.html.

The bottom line is that we believe that any needed regulation should be left to local municipalities. Accordingly, we recommend that the Board NOT adopt the proposed, or any regulation of OWBs. Such regulations can be easily managed by local municipalities of densely populated areas.

But I doubt they will listen to just me. Here is where we need to work together. If you agree that PA citizens should have the freedom to choose to burn wood, you can help to preserve our freedom by doing two simple things:

1. Send a quick email to the Board, and
2. Forward this email to any and all friends who would be interested in this issue and would also like to have their voice heard by sending an email to the Board.

For your email to the Board, please follow these simple steps:

1. Copy the "Sample Letter to Board" below into a new email.
2. Make any changes or additions you wish to make. (Alternatively, you can just write your own letter - I only provide the Sample Letter below to simplify this for you.)
3. Put in the Subject Line the following: "Comments on Proposed Rulemaking - Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers".
4. Make sure to add your name and address so the Board knows you are a PA constituent.
5. Send the email to the following email address: RegComments@state.pa.us

6. If you do not receive an acknowledgement of electronic comments within 2 working days, please resend your email to ensure the Board receives the email.
7. Alternatively, you can mail your comments to the following address: Environmental Quality Board, PO Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477.
8. YOUR EMAIL OR LETTER MUST BE RECEIVED BY JANUARY 4, 2010!!
9. The Board will not accept faxed letters. Send it by email or mail only.

A sample of a letter you could send to the board is attached below. If you have any questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me - you can reach me at Warren@HawkenEnergy.com.

And don't forget to forward this email to your friends!

Thanks, and warm regards,

Warren W. Walborn
President & CEO

---Sample Letter to Board---

TO:
Environmental Quality Board
PO Box 8477
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477

FROM:
(your name)
(your address)
(your city, state, zip)

Re: Proposed Rulemaking [25 PA. Code CHS. 121 and 123] Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers

Dear Board:

Please do NOT proceed with your proposed rulemaking regarding outdoor wood-fired boilers. I believe this would be unacceptable for our Commonwealth for the following reasons:

1. Wood is a renewable fuel that has been safely used since the beginning of recorded history.
2. Wood does not harm the environment. Fossil fuels DO harm the environment. Wood does not add greenhouse gasses to the environment - Fossil fuels DO.
3. The proposed regulation was prepared using grossly flawed data.
4. This regulation will damage the economy of Pennsylvania by killing jobs, and by increasing the heating cost of many homeowners by over 400 percent.
5. The Commonwealth consists primarily of heavily-wooded, rural areas. It makes no sense to burden the citizens of our entire Commonwealth with a rule that really only applies to densely populated areas that constitute a tiny portion of the Commonwealth. We believe that any needed regulation should be left to local municipalities. Accordingly, we recommend that the Board NOT adopt the proposed, or any regulation of OWBs. Such regulations can be easily managed by local municipalities of densely populated areas.

Thank you.

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