The Daily Gazette: Editorial right about need to clean up existing wood boilers (Letter to the editor)

(January 10, 2011)

DailyGazettelogo

Monday, January 10, 2011

Re Dec. 26 editorial, “Dirtiest wood boilers forgotten”: The Daily Gazette hit the nail on the head with regard to outdoor wood boilers. While the American Lung Association in New York supports the Department of Environmental Conservation’s approval of regulations that limit emissions from new outdoor wood boilers, the protections we’re being offered from these devices still falls short of what is needed.

There are more than 1 million New Yorkers suffering from asthma, and many more with chronic lung diseases. Dirty wood smoke being emitted from existing outdoor wood boilers affects their breathing and forces many to stay in their homes with their windows shut for fear of having an episode.

The Lung Association participated last year in the DEC’s public hearing process on this issue and we made clear the impact these devices are having on air quality and New Yorkers’ ability to breathe.

We do not feel further delay in adopting regulations for all outdoor wood boilers is warranted. The evidence that these devices harm our air and lung health couldn’t be more clear.

We urge the Cuomo administration to move swiftly to expand protections to include all outdoor wood boilers. The reality is that it is the smoke from furnaces now in operation that have compelled so many to call and write, pleading for relief.

New Yorkers deserve to breathe clean, healthy air, free from contaminants that threaten their health and quality of life. We will continue to press the DEC to do right by New Yorkers on this important matter affecting public health.

Scott T. Santarella
Albany

The writer is president and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York.