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Monday, June 4, 2007 | I have been researching a news story I heard recently on the evening news. It regards a proposal by the South Coast Air Management Board, which oversees Orange County, Riverside, L.A. & San Fernando Valley environs. The proposal would ban wood fires in fireplaces in people’s homes on severely smoggy days.

If it is passed it will go before the State Air Quality Management Board and then to the EPA. I am not ignorant of the financial pressures being levied against the state of California to pressure the state to come into compliance with the air quality standards of the EPA. But I also realize that fireplaces are just the tiniest “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to air pollution!

Can this rule eventually become a law that must be enforced? If so how could it be enforced? What might the penalties be for having a fire in a fireplace? Good heavens! I feel like no matter what, there is always going to be a rule that some poor soul will break without even realizing it! They’re being passed so quickly, and for some really trivial things!

Here are some other questions that have occurred to me:

1. Would there also be regulations about having fires at the beach?

2. Would there be a ban on camp fires?

3. People are buying portable fire pits. How might such a ruling affect the use of these fire pits?

4. In many places throughout the country, pottery is fired in wood burning kilns. How might this affect that industry?

5. What if it isn’t wood that is being burned?

I live very near to a freeway. Particulate matter from the cars zooming by on the roads sifts down in a fine, gritty silt all over my patio and everyone else’s too. It isn’t from fireplaces!

I hope the people who have been appointed to this Air Quality Board will seriously consider not including these small, personal fires in homes and camp sites in their management policies!

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