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The state Department of Environmental Conservation has made a 180-degree turnaround on outdoor wood-burning boilers – a development that may hurt Upstate residents.

According to local Assemblyman Steve Hawley, the DEC is set to propose a strict set of rules on the outdoor boilers tomorrow. Just a few months ago, the DEC had tried to force through similar legislation, but dialed back its efforts in the face of public outcry. Now, Hawley says the DEC is overstepping its boundaries again.

"It's exactly what continues to happen in the State of New York," says Hawley. "They're attempting to do the same exact thing, opposite of the people's will - the majority's will - with regards to wood-burning (boilers), just like they did with open burning."

Hawley was referring to the DEC's 2009 ban on the open burning of trash and leaves, as well as banning any open fire larger than 3 feet high and four feet in diameter.

The outdoor wood-burning boilers create wood smoke, certain amounts of which the DEC identifies as an environmental hazard. There are new regulations regarding distance from residences and what can be burned as fuel.

Hawley says he’ll fight the legislation.

"We're going to have several people attending the pre-Christmas meeting the DEC has, and we're going to attempt to scuttle it (the ban)," he says. "Hopefully we'll come up with some recommendations and convince them not to implement these overly restrictive guidelines.

"If we're unsuccessful, then we will introduce legislation to overturn over-regulatory situation."

The DEC meets tomorrow in Albany.


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