Senate Unanimously Passes Bill To Protect Outdoor Wood Boiler Users

ALBANY (July 1, 2010) — Yesterday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation that will allow for the continued use of outdoor wood boilers (OWB) by responsible users in spite of proposed Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations that would severely restrict their use to the detriment of many residents in rural New York State (S.8061).

“This is about our unique rural way of life and we have a responsibility to ensure that the tens of thousands of households that depend on this relatively clean, affordable heat source can continue to heat their homes,” said Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, Chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources and sponsor of the bill that passed. “The New York State Senate made it very clear that we do not agree with the DEC’s plan to regulate outdoor wood boilers out of use. This bill protects responsible users from runaway regulation while at the same time empowers local governments to craft regulations that best fit the needs of their communities. As a matter of common sense, a one-size-fits-all approach is inappropriate and harmful to rural New York. Towns and villages with a relatively high population density have different environmental and health concerns than more sparsely populated rural communities in Upstate New York, so it makes sense to trust local zoning boards to do the right thing for their communities.”

The bill that would allow for the continued use of outdoor boilers currently in operation, require any new boilers sold in New York be EPA approved, and allow for local decision making with respect to zoning issues such as setbacks and chimney heights.

Senator Aubertine noted that there has been a groundswell of grassroots support his bill. “Albany heard the message from rural New York loud and clear. The Senate unanimously supported this legislation, so I think that should tell the DEC that they need to go back to the drawing board.”

The Senator has received resolutions in support of the legislation, including the St. Lawrence County Legislature, and from municipalities across the state. Additionally, Senator Aubertine has put up a form on his website to allow people to provide the DEC with their thoughts on the regulations and has issued his own comments in opposition to the proposed regulations.

The DEC regulations on OWB’s would (among other things):

o Restrict the use of an OWB from May 15-August 31 in the Northern Heating Zone (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Washington and Warren) and April 15 – September 15 in the rest of the State.

o Require replacement of OWBs within 10 years – regardless of their continued usefulness and cost to owners.

o Require stack height of 18 ‘ minimum or 2 feet higher than any structure within 150 feet. This could easily be in excess of 60 feet.

o Restrict use within 100 feet of nearest property boundary; for commercial systems 200’ from property boundary; 300 feet from property boundary with a residence and 1000 feet from a school.

The Assembly companion bill (A11457) is sponsored by Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee and is still awaiting a final vote.


  1. This article was written by a “contributor”? Why the secret as to whose opinion this is? Could it be from the good senator’s office? Gee, there in the first paragraph the bias jumps right out: “…regulations that would severely restrict their use TO THE DETRIMENT of many residents in rural New York State.” The health effects of the OWB on all the meek neighbors surrounding the burner don’t count, right? It’s well documented that wood smoke is DETRIMENTAL to human health. So let the local pols in power intimidate anybody with the nerve to cry ASTHMA into keeping their mouth shut, as happened to me. The advertising from OWB manufacturers touts how YOU, the homeowner, can keep YOUR OWN indoor air cleaner. Yup. Just send all the problems out into the atmosphere and over to the neighbors! What a hero Sen. Aubertine is!

  2. Belle:

    There’s nothing sinister here. All of the press releases that come in to us are marked as having been sent by “contributor”. Our publishing software isn’t able to specify by whom the article was written.

    Our policy is to publish whatever folks send us, whoever they are, so long as it’s a legitimate attempt to inform the public about something.

    Yes, this one comes from Sen. Aubertine’s office.

    It comes to us clearly labeled. We need to find a better way to show that to you.

    Don’t blame him; blame us.

    -Dave Bullard/Managing Editor

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