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Burning Wood Bad for the Air

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Original Title:
Pollution Proposal Could Force Wood Burning Crackdown

Fireplace and wood stove owners in the Sacramento area could soon be subject to stricter regulations on burning under new pollution standards proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Under the changes proposed Tuesday (December 20), states would be held to more stringent daily limits on what concentration of microscopic particles of air pollution, or soot, is considered safe.

Currently, industries must curtail burning when the concentration of soot particles averages is greater than 65 micrograms per cubic meter. The EPA's expert advisory panel recommended drastically cutting the daily limit to only 30 micrograms per cubic meter.

Even in areas with little industry, such as Sacramento County, area air quality districts could be forced to enact tougher regulations on all types of burning to meet the new federal guidelines.

To help curtail air pollution, homeowners could be forced to either install new low-polluting fireplace inserts or forego burning wood on days when pollution concerns are at their highest, Jamie Arno with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District said.

Residents of several San Joaquin Valley communities already face similar regulations with $50 fines enforced against fireplace or wood stove owners who violate daily burning bans.

The proposed standards now face a 90-day public comment period, leading to a final rule from the EPA by next September.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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