Herbert defends proposed wood burning ban

Utah physicians want ban on wood burning in populated areas based on research they say shows wood smoke is more toxic than cigarette smoke. Image courtesy of the U.S. Government

A lot of people have turned out to meetings to protest a proposal by Governor Gary Herbert to limit wood burning during winter months in Utah. Herbert also got calls Thursday on his monthly radio news conference objecting to the suggestion.

Herbert said the recommendation came from the state’s Air Quality Board and it was made in an effort to improve air quality, not only for health reasons but because it would help the economy.

“The suggestion of limiting, which was really the original suggestion to limit wood burning in our state,” Herbert explained, “came out of studies done by our universities that show that significantly more impacting our air quality from wood stoves and wood burning fire places than we originally thought.

“Five percent of the pollution we see out in the air has to do with wood burning stoves and fire places. So it’s a significant impact. In fact, one hour burning one log in your fireplace is the equivalent of driving your automobile from here to St. George and back again.”

The governor said the public hearings being held are to hear the concerns of the people and decide what actions could be taken, such as helping those who use wood as their sole source of heat to transition over perhaps to propane. He said it is appropriate that there would be times when burning wood is appropriate but it is important to have the public input.

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