Citing health concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency now is pressing ahead with regulations to significantly limit the pollution from newly manufactured residential wood heaters. But some of the states with the most wood smoke -- including Minnesota and Wisconsin -- are refusing to go along, claiming that the EPA's new rules could leave low-income residents in the cold.The new designs will naturally increase cost. When the current generation of stoves requires replacement, people may not be able to afford the new, government-approved stoves. Further, if the stove design is anything like the low-flow flush toilet design, a person might have to sit on top of them to keep warm.
The Missouri legislature has already told the EPA that our DNR will not enforce the new regulations. This is as it should be. If a city or a particular part of a city were to choose to strictly regulate or even outlaw wood-burning stoves, furnaces and fireplaces, a person who found this unacceptable could move. If the whole country does it to appease a handful of hysterical hypochondriacs in suburbia, where do you go?
I can understand in congested urban areas there being an issue with wood smoke if everyone in the neighborhood used a wood stove or furnace as their primary heat source. That doesn't happen. Given the cost and supply of suitable hardwood, such a scenario is unrealistic. Even with pellet stoves, which are newer and likely produce "cleaner" smoke (I have no experience in this area), there are probably constraints on availability of fuel.
I thought we were all about "renewables". No bald eagle has ever been chopped in half or fried in mid-air by smoke from a wood stove. Wood is renewable. It is also low-tech. In a rural setting, on fairly small acreage, a person can be self-sustaining with wood as a heat and cooking source. My family did it for many years.
The bureaucrats in Washington come up with these ridiculous demands without realizing there are people out here in the country who would find this a genuine hardship as well as cause for additional animosity toward the government. If you have wood as your primary heat source, there are times when it is a matter of life and death. It gets cold enough where I live that a person could die without heat.
Also, I would think that the amount of smoke and the noxiousness of the smoke has as much to do with the quality of wood as the quality of stove -- if not more. I've seen good, solid, well-seasoned oak smoke that was barely a smudge on a winter's day. People use heating oil up in Yankee-land. I am sure that is worse than anything coming out of a hillbilly's chimney because it's in our blood -- as "Copper Kettle" says:
Build your fire with hickory,
Hickory, ash, or oak.
Don't use no green or rotten wood,
They'll get by you by your smoke.
Several years ago there was a proposal floated to have greater regulation of rural water usage in some "sensitive" areas of the Ozarks. Part of the proposal suggested putting a meter on private wells. I don't know that I would actually kill someone who tried to put a meter on my well, but I don't know for sure that I wouldn't, either. I would certainly attempt to make the poor sucker tasked with the job question the wisdom of those who sent him out. I'm afraid there are people out here who would be the same way about the government trying to take away their "heatin' stove".