ALBANY - The state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing new regulations to cut air pollution from outdoor wood boilers.
The agency will hold a series of public hearings on the proposed rules and take public comments through July 2.
The rules are intended to reduce the impact of smoke plumes on neighbors. They set emission limits on new boilers sold in New York and set a minimum distance for new boilers to be set from neighboring properties.
The rules also include fuel restrictions, stack height requirements and a nuisance provision for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers.
The rule also bans the use of existing boilers in the summer when neighbors are likely to be outdoors and have their windows open, unless the units meet the new requirements applicable to new boilers.
DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said the proposal ensures new outdoor wood boilers will be cleaner, and that existing boilers will be used in the most environmentally sound way possible.
"The DEC is continually working to improve air quality, so that all New Yorkers can breathe air that is clean and healthy," Grannis said. "Today's proposal is another important step toward that goal."
Scott Santarella is president and CEO of the New York chapter of the American Lung Association. He says people have suffered too long because of exposure to the particulate matter emitted by outdoor wood boilers.
"The Lung Association looks forward to working with the DEC to ensure the most protective public health regulations are implemented, so all New Yorkers can breathe easier," Santarella said.
Ross Gould of Environmental Advocates of New York also lauded the proposed restrictions.
"Outdoor wood boilers are a growing concern as large sources of smoke in residential areas in New York," he said. "With these regulations, the DEC is phasing out the older boilers that emit greater levels of smoke and particulate matter to reduce air pollutants."
Gould said the new regulations represent an important step in improving air quality in New York.
"We look forward to working with the DEC to implement regulations for phasing out existing polluting outdoor boilers," he said.