Sunday, November 22, 2015

                             BREATHE  FREE  OR  FREEZE

Woodstoves were once objects of  Green pride, conspicuous symbols of  energy independence, and  rejection of  fossil fuels.  No longer.

Now,  as the  darkness  of  winter  descends, and the New  Paranoia spreads fear of breathing over an ever-more regulated land, Richard Nixon's 1970  Christmas present  to the nation,  the EPA,  is out to eliminate  everything  that  emits  anything,  woodstoves included.

Not to be outdone, Canada's  new Nanny Statists  have  embraced Montréal's proposal to eliminate all fireplaces.

Farewell, renewable energy : The EPA has just given the Founding Fathers and the Sierra Club the boot  by banning the production not just of Doctor Franklin's energy-efficient Stove, but 80% of 21st Century America's wood-burning home heating gear as well.

As  usual,  the  culprit  is Prohibition by Incremental Regulation.   So  stringent have  the agency’s rules become  that you can already  violate the  limits of its airborne   particulate   regulations   by blowing out a birthday cake in a small room, let  alone  setting  fire to a  Yule log, or roasting  a panful of  chestnuts.

That's  not  enough  for  the  EPA. Washington wants airborne particulate emissions cut below 1 / 1000th the level of secondhand tobacco smoke --  a maximum of roughly ten micrograms per cubic yard of air.

The consequences are draconian: Breathe Free or Freeze.  Henceforth only air-tight wood stoves with platinum-plated catalytic converters elaborate as a Mercedes engine's will be allowed to warm Alaskan log cabins, or rural homes in the southern 48.  This could signal the end of barbecue  joints ,  Cajun  restaurants ,  and  blowtorch-wok  Chinese cuisine as well.  Under the new rules, one pan-blackened redfish belts out enough black carbon  nanoparticles to redline the air quality in a fair sized cathedral, and it remains to be seen if freedom of religion can allow for candles or incense burning in churches high or low.

More ominously, what will become of those who face the winter to come if , as President Obama wills, the EPA regs are enforced as law?  One bizarre consequence of the frakking revolution is that more American home are heated with wood than oil -- the current census puts 2,400,000 housing units at risk of freezing if regulatory overkill snuffs out their primary heat source.

Retrofits are not going to help much, and noncomplient older stoves can't legally be traded in for new models - the EPA says they must be destroyed,  or recycled.  Fired  by 
 the  EPA's  zeal, some  state  and municipal governments  already  fine home owners who persevere in staying warm , and  fussbudget Attorneys General in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts  New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont have also sued for an EPA crack down on outdoor wood-burning water heaters.