Mammoth Lakes Rule 431

James Dixon
Eric Fishburn Inc.
11264 La Grange Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310 914 5170 x 115


I talked with Brian Pohlman, Building Official Mammoth Lakes, Inyo County, who suggested I talk with Duane Ono, Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer, Great Basin Unified Air Quality Control District, 157 Short St., Bishop, CA 93514 (760 872 8211).

After some discussion Duane admitted that the Great Basin ordinance was drafted in 1990 before Colorado, Washington and areas in California, in conjunction with the EPA and two EPA certified test labs, had refined the fireplace equivalency standards. The Great Bason Rule 431 is on line at Duane invited me to come to a Great Basin District meeting and request that the District revise Rule 431 to permit "low emitting" masonry fireplaces.

I plan to follow up with a letter to Duane and do just that.

Then I talked with you and made the suggestion that you apply for a permit to build one of the "Certified Rumfords" (See ) and appeal the (probably) denial for a permit. Then, as a back up plan get a permit to build the fireplace equipped with a gas log set (see ). The idea is you could "settle" for the gas log set if we don't get District approval and it wouldn't hold up your construction schedule.

After we talked I spoke again with Brian Pohlman who told me they wouldn't allow gas logs either, since they were afraid people would just pull out the log set after the inspection and burn wood. Frankly, I think that's insulting. It assumes that you intend to break the law. If they have a law, they should enforce it. It's sort of like requiring a governor on your car so that it can't exceed the town speed limit because they have an inadequate police force. But Brian did offer an interesting challenge: He said the city might be open to some sort of "trade off" whereby your client would pay to change out three old dirty stoves for new EPA certified stoves in exchange for a permit for the Rumford. It's an offer he's made before and has had no takers. But how about a self policing "trade off"? Maybe your client would be willing to photograph the gas log set or swear to a notary every year to prove to City Hall that the gas logs were still in place.

Bottom line is I will try to meet with the District ASAP. I don't think it would hurt a bit to apply for a permit even if you are nearly positive that it will be denied - even the gas log part - and appeal that decision to the City of Mammoth Lake. Again, I think Brian and Duane are both reasonable and cooperative and, like us, interested in fairness. They both have to uphold the law but there is no reason to think they will be offended by our appeal which is only part of a process to update their law and make it more fair. I'll keep you informed.

Meanwhile it might be useful to contact anyone you know, such as Bill Taylor or your contact at the District. Their advice and possible support will be useful.

Warm regards,
Jim Buckley

Fireplace Emissions
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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