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Publication Date: Friday, April 06, 2001

Lieber proposes wood smoke ordinance Lieber proposes wood smoke ordinance (April 06, 2001)

By Justin Scheck

Vice-mayor Sally Lieber has proposed an ordinance to restrict the installation of new fireplaces and wood-burning stoves in Mountain View in an effort to minimize smog problems on the Peninsula.

The model ordinance introduced by Lieber is based on guidelines from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and would prohibit use of wood-burning heaters during air quality warning periods when an alternative source of heating is available. It would also require new homes to install only EPA-approved wood-burning devices.

"I really think it's important for us to consider this, and join in the regional effort on this one," said Lieber. Contra Costa and San Mateo counties and the cities of Palo Alto, Morgan Hill, Los Gatos, and Petaluma have adopted similar ordinances.

With a 6-1 vote the council last Tuesday directed staff to study the ordinance.

Mayor Mario Ambra dissented, saying he does not think wood smoke is a major contributor to the area's smog problems. He also expressed concern about passing excessive regulatory measures.

"What is next? Are we going to outlaw barbecues? We need to draw a line," said Ambra. "We don't burn wood now, and with the new energy (costs) going up, people might want to burn wood."

Council member Mike Kasperzak disagreed. "It's my understanding that (wood stoves) do add significantly to particulate emissions. I clearly think it's something worth looking at," he said. "If everyone else is doing it, it doesn't make sense for us to be the ones to allow it and tell everyone else in the area to deal with our smoke."

Council members Rosemary Stasek and Ralph Faravelli said they do not yet have enough information to form an opinion on the matter, and authorized the study to find out more about the issue. 


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