We disagree with a proposal from Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment that wood-burning stoves should be eliminated in Utah. The organization provided a presentation before Utah Air Quality Board recently, arguing for a proposal to phase out all non-essential wood burning in non-attainment counties.
There are 12 million wood-burning stoves in the United States. They have been a method of heating for a very long time. To take that away from families and individuals who choose to heat their homes in that manner would be an offensive misuse of government authority.
It's also an extremist position on the environment. Wood-burning stoves are becoming more efficient, and as time passes older versions, including open-face and steel stoves, will be replaced -- in greater numbers -- by models that require fewer pieces of firewood. The EPA has a mandatory smoke emission limit for wood stoves at 7.5 grams per hour. According to BJ Hogge, of Hearth and Home Distributors of Utah, there are wood-burning stove models that burn only 1.1 grams of fine particle emissions per hour.
We're not opposed to discussion over tougher EPA standards, but debating the elimination of wood-burning stoves is a bunch of hot air. They are used, and emit energy, to keep people warm. If wood-burning stoves were banned, families and individuals would have to use other ways to keep warm, including heating oil. Do we have to have a checklist in our own home to satisfy those who want to use government to limit our choices?
It's not unreasonable to wonder when the next preferred method to keep warm will be deemed "unhealthy."