WNBZ AM 540: Health groups ask state to ban outdoor wood boilers

Public health and environmental organizations filed a lawsuit in state supreme court last week to stop the sale of certain outdoor wood boilers, calling them a hazard to the environment and public health.

A spokesman for the American Lung Association of New York said the boilers emit about 1,000 times the amount of fine particulate matter more than oil furnaces.

Outdoor wood boilers endanger public health and exacerbate asthma symptoms, the lung association argues.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation enacted new pollution limits on boilers in December. The new rules were set to take effect on April 15 of this year, but the agency extended that deadline to July 15 to allow retailers time to get rid of their older, noncompliant inventory.

The new regulations cut emissions by 90 percent and require an 18-foot stack height to reduce smoke flowing to neighboring homes. Farm groups say the regulations are too burdensome and smokestacks that tall are dangerous in windy areas.

Albany County-based state Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara heard arguments for a temporary restraining order against the DEC last week, and could make a ruling by the end of the week.

-George Earl, 5-23-11