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Fireplace policy flawed

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Posted: Monday, December 16, 2002 10:00 pm

The San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District is proposing to limit, by up to 20 days per winter, your use of your fireplace in your home, in an attempt to reduce particles in the air smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter.

(Editor's note: Particles in the air smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter can be inhaled into the lungs. These particles, also called "PM10," include fine smoke and coarse dust.)

Four days of testing done six years apart with the tester estimating 15-20 percent of PM10 levels were attributed to fireplaces, is the scientific data the air pollution district is relying on to place these restrictions.

Isn't it ironic that the purpose of attempting to reduce pollution in the Valley is to maintain an estimated $2 billion in federal funding to build more roads so more cars can travel through the Valley?

Cars are a large contributor of PM10 levels.

Can you expect a visit by the fireplace police or possibly a system of neighbors turning each other in? Who shall determine if the smoke coming out of your chimney is from a certified stove, a wax log, dry wood, gas stove or possibly just rising heat on a cold night?

Shouldn't the solution be to start with the largest generator of PM10 emissions? Or take a portion of the $2 billion of federal money and create a program to rebate consumers for updating to Environmental Protection Agency-certified wood-burning devices and funding the development of some type of catalytic converter for your chimneys?

Or how about making sure wood sellers are selling properly seasoned wood?

Please call the SJCAPCD at 557-6400 and express your opinion.

Kurt Kautz


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