Wood burning in Valley to be discussed at air district meeting

03/26/2014 11:19 PM

03/26/2014 11:21 PM

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District will hold a public meeting this evening to present and receive comments on strategies to further reduce emissions from wood burning in the Valley.

The workshop will take place at 5:30 p.m today in the Valley air district office in Fresno and will be video-teleconferenced at the Bakersfield and Modesto district offices.

Officials said the meeting’s purpose is to get community input on new adjustments being made to the district’s Rule 4901 , which limits emission of carbon monoxide and particulate matter from wood-burning fireplaces.

Among the strategies being considered is establishing a lower prohibition level that would allow the use of clean wood-burning devices. The district is also considering increasing the number of “no-burn” days for all other residential wood-burning devices.

According to Valley air district spokesman Anthony Presto, discussing these changes with the public is necessary to further reduce the Valley’s wintertime wood-burning pollution and protect public health.

“The main thing we want is input from the public,” Presto said. “This is an opportunity for people to give their comments and opinions and add to the strategies we’re working on.”

The district also plans to enhance its “Burn Cleaner” incentive program, which provides funding to Valley residents to replace their old wood-burning devices with newer and cleaner hearth options, such as natural gas inserts or Environmental Protection Agency-certified devices.

Over the years, the San Joaquin Valley has been able to improve its air quality through regulatory measures and incentive programs. Since its adoption in 2003, the wood-burning rule has been able to decrease wintertime emissions significantly, but there is still room for improvement. According to the Valley air district, residential wood-burning is the largest contributor to harmful fine-particulate emissions, which have been associated with lung disease, heart attacks and strokes.

Anyone interested in watching tonight’s workshop through a webcast may do so at www.valleyair.org.

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