ALBANY (July 1, 2010) â€” 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).
â€œThis 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,â€ said Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, Chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources and sponsor of the bill that passed. â€œThe New York State Senate made it very clear that we do not agree with the DECâ€™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.â€
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. â€œAlbany 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.â€
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 OWBâ€™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 â€“ September 15 in the rest of the State.
o Require replacement of OWBs within 10 years â€“ 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.