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New wood-burning rules proposed

Monday, January 9, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS -- State Rep. Vern Tincher (D-Riley) recently made residents in his district aware of proposed new rules for burning wood.

He said the Indiana Department of Environmental Management rules would drastically restrict the use of outdoor furnaces that burn wood or corn.

"With very little advance warning, IDEM has indicated it wants to develop new rules regulating emissions from outdoor furnaces and boilers," Tincher said.

Tincher said the proposed rules are designed to curb the use of outdoor furnaces, which are not regulated at either the state or federal level. IDEM officials appear to want to restrict usage because of complaints that the furnaces generate smoke and pollute the air.

"Many homeowners choose to use these furnaces to burn wood or corn because they simply cannot afford to pay for gas or oil heating," Tincher said. "By using wood or corn, people are able to heat their homes at a substantially lower cost, which is important during colder winters, like the one we're in right now.

"From my experience and discussions with other people, I have not seen any proof that the smoke generated by these outdoor furnaces is substantially worse than other types of smoke that are put into the air. At the very least, the matter should be discussed in more depth before enacting a rule that will end up raising heating bills. There are many people who are suspicious that this effort is being advanced by utility companies who fear competition that is taking money out of their pockets."

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