Can Lawmakers Restrict Wood-Burning Stoves to Improve Air Quality?

During his State of the State speech, Gov. Gary Herbert called for the Department of Air Quality to crack down on emissions from wood burning stoves. The Utah Senate might not be on board with that.


Herbert said those stoves account for about 5% of pollution during winter inversions. But Senator John Valentine said on Thursday the issue is a little more complicated than that.

“We are worried about those people who use them as their primary source of heat,” said Valentine. He suggested more preventative measures might be the better way to go.

“Perhaps a better solution would be to task the Division of Air Quality to project when we are about to enter an inversion and set up restrictions before that happens. Right now, we don’t start restricting the use (of woodburning stoves) until we are in the middle of an inversion. If we see an inversion setting up, we should start prohibiting use earlier on.”

Senator Ralph Okerlund says he can see lawmakers tackling the issue, but he urges caution.

“How can we tell people not to use their fireplaces from November to February? When else are they going to use them? We need to be careful and work with the governor to come up with a reasonable solution.”