Green Action has been active in fighting pollution and especially industrial dioxin pollution in the San Francisco and Oakland area. In their fight to promote environmentally "green" clay pipe over plastic sewer pipe, part of our industry, the National Clay Pipe Institute, has been a supporter of Green Action.
Bradley Angel, Executive Director of Green Action, used to be with Green Peace. I called him on July 27, 1999 to see if Green Action had a position or any advice on the fireplace ban issue in the Bay Area.
Bradley said they already have too much on their agenda and he doubted that Green Action would get involved directly in the fireplace issue but he thought "our paths might cross" and we might be mutually useful as part of a broad environmental coalition.
In his view the big debate is over dioxin emissions caused by refineries and chemical plants and he called the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) "polluter friendly" in that they protect the real industrial polluters while blaming the pollution on cars and residential woodsmoke - easy targets so that the District will appear to be doing something. "Even during a 'clean air' day", said Bradley, "the District calls on individuals to reduce driving and stop using their stoves but they don't say a word to Chevron."
We in the fireplace business are easy targets because we're not a big industry and we are not organized. Maybe we can learn something from Green Action and maybe help them keep the focus on the real polluters by defending ourselves, refusing to play the roll of "easy target" and by sharing the knowledge we have about woodsmoke and fireplaces.
Bradley suggested I call Arnold Den (415 744 1018), an EPA Scientist specializing in air issues, to learn more about industrial sources of pollution vs. cars and woodsmoke. Arnold said for some reason the District was over-emphasizing diesel trucks and woodsmoke and that they were really not very significant causes of pollution. He offered to put me in touch with the right people at Region Nine of EPA and urged us, as "stakeholders" to check to see if the SIP for the new 2.5 micron particulate standard was targeting woodsmoke.
__Jim Buckley 7/27/99
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