Dear Friend of Fireplaces:
As you probably know, the Bay Area Air Pollution Control District has promulgated a Model Ordinance that would outlaw woodburning fireplaces. The District is encouraging cities and counties in the Bay Area to adopt the Model Ordinance. Many cities and counties have taken the issue under consideration. Already, San Jose, Palo Alto, and Morgan Hill are considering versions of the BAAQMD's Ordinance. The San Jose proposal has just been publicly released, and the Palo Alto proposal will be presented to the Palo Alto City Council on November 1.
California Hearths & Homes has been in direct contact with officials in each of the cities considering an ordinance. We want to help you convey your concerns about fireplace prohibitions, as well. If you just let us know you want to work with us, we will provide you the text of each pending ordinance, the names and contact information for your local decision makers, and pertinent information you can use to compose your own message, or pre-drafted statements you can "cut and paste" into a message which expresses your views.
Your messages can be phoned in to the council members of the cities you serve (most have message machines for constituent comments), mailed on your company letterhead, faxed, or emailed. The important thing is that they have the "personal touch", and reflect your views as a wage payer and taxpayer in the Bay Area community.
We are pleased that our message is a strong one. The connection between fireplace woodsmoke and emissions affecting public health in the Bay Area has yet to be proven. Much of the BAAQMD's data is specious and uncorroborated. The "hard" data suggests there is NO problem; certainly no problem requiring an outright ban on woodburning fireplaces. For example:
In the Bay Area, the US EPA 24-hour standard for PM10 has not been violated once since 1991. Not once.
The much more stringent California standard for PM10, which goes well beyond what the federal government mandated, was exceeded on three (3) days in 1996 and on four (4) days in 1997, the last year for which full records have been published by the BAAQMD. Hardly a public health emergency.
In fact, the number of annual exceedances of the more stringent standard has fallen dramatically. Ten years ago, exceedances occurred ten times more often than they do now (32 in 1988, 51 in 1989, 34 in 1990, 36 in 1991).
If we can help you contact decision makers in your community, let us know. If we can provide you with Question and Answer guides, press releases, or other materials, let us know. If you would like a copy of the prohibitive ordinance being proposed in your community, let us know.
Working together, we can ensure that woodburning fireplaces can be built for generations to come. We hope you will get involved, and we want to help. Contact us.
Jeff McNear, President
California Hearths & Homes
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