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Air district offers vouchers to replace old stoves

Dust and ash in the air with a bit of fog to keep it close to the ground all creates a perfect storm for wintertime pollution.

You can’t do much about fog in the Valley this time of year. But steps can be taken to make that toasty home fire as friendly to the air as possible, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District encourages.

The air district is putting its money where its mouth is. It suggests people replace their old wood burning stoves and fireplace inserts with a natural gas, propane stoves or inserts.

And it is offering a voucher program to inspire a change out. “We’re hoping this will motivate people who are considering updating their stoves,” said Maricela Velasquez, spokeswoman for the air district.

Merced County and other residents in the Valley can apply for $350 vouchers to buy a new device now through April 30 — or until funding runs out. The air district has $108,000 for this project, which came from an Environmental Protection Agency grant to Operation Clean Air. It can fund about 300 vouchers.

Read the full story in Thursday's Merced Sun-Star.