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DEC approves outdoor wood boiler regulations

Dec 22, 2010 8:03 pm
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)'s Environmental Board today approved new stricter performance standards for new outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) sold in the state. The regulation will go into effect 30 days after it is filed with the Secretary of State. Many, including Greene County's representative in the New York State Senate James Seward, complained that the DEC rushed this process without proper public input. Environmentalists can cheer the stricter guidelines, with new OWBs burning 90 percent cleaner than older models, according to the DEC. "This is about ensuring that new outdoor wood boilers burn cleaner -- not only for people who buy OWBs and their families, but also for their neighbors. It's not unlike the switch to cleaner cars," said Acting DEC Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz in a prepared statement. "It's also to ensure that OWB stacks are high enough to disperse emissions rather than having them blow directly into houses and other dwellings. That's important for public health. Also, we have listened to the agricultural community and made appropriate exceptions for farming operations." The regulation approved today includes stack height requirements for new OWBs that will reduce the impact of emission plumes on neighboring property owners. In addition, new OWBs will be required to be set back a minimum of 100 feet from neighboring properties -- except for OWBs used in agricultural operations, which must be at least 100 feet from neighboring homes. Both new and existing OWBs will be subject to fuel restrictions limiting boilers to only clean wood. The text of the final rule before the Environmental Board is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/69348.html on the DEC website.