Letter: Burning chokes up the valley
Sep 13, 2012 | 2478 views | 20 20 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

EDITOR,

I am a resident of San Lorenzo Valley, and wish the rules for air pollution were enforced.

All winter long, I cannot open my windows for fresh air, because there is no fresh air. My neighbors burn wet unseasoned wood, which smokes up my neighborhood.

Your right to burn ends when it pollutes my fresh air.

The backyard burns are the worst. People find whatever they can scrape up to burn in the winter. They burn wet and green wood and waste products of any sort. A fee should be charged for backyard burns, and a fee for woodstove inspections every year to make sure the wood stoves are up to code.

The pollution created is so bad, it should be completely banned in SLV. The wood smoke just sits and lingers for days, and people do not realize all the fresh air created by the trees while they are growing is completely erased, and carbon monoxide and many other seriously bad pollutants are put in the atmosphere for our people and young children to breath. Leaving your child with lung disease and lung problems for the rest of their lives is not something you want to leave for our children.

Wake up, Americans — save our air. Charge fees for all wood burning of any sort.

Rick Goebel, Boulder Creek

Comments
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burn baby burn
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September 20, 2012
i love to burn i burn everyday i burn every night i burn while i am sleeping and even when i fight. I burn in my fire place and i burn when i am dressed in lace. I burn my garbage and my mail hell i would even burn a nail. But what i love to Burn the most is the trash i get in the mail from Eric Hammer
Ezira Al Rashid
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September 20, 2012
I have to say that was very funny. By the way, an Eric Hammer supporter was caught on video today tearing down a Bruce McPherson sign in Felton. Not the first time, I'm sure.
He who breathes here
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September 20, 2012
your right to burn ends when it pollutes my fresh air?

Ok, Everybody turn your cars off and leave 'em off!
Impressive
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September 17, 2012
Woodstoves have been burning here in the valley longer than anyone alive today. What makes today's air so much worse? With all these forced regulations on cars, factories... shouldn't it be better?

PG&E rates are out of control. Unless you live in a newer energy efficient home, or have an income large enough to update your old one... you pay big bucks. Personally, I'm all for families finding ways to stay warm through the winter.

Ella P
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September 17, 2012
That's a very good point. There has been virtually no growth in the valley, so wood stove use is presumably no more intense than before. So this is not a new crisis.

This Spring, April I believe, there were a couple of days that were cold, with no wind where smoke in the valley was noticeable. I agree that's a problem.

Perhaps the Monterey Bay Air Pollution Control District can offer up alerts. Similar to the notices Zayante Fire Dept puts up on its sign in front of the station alerting people that fire risk is high, medium, or low.

But it sounds like the time is past for this rational discussion.

It really is too bad that Mark Stone's office and the Monterey Bay Air Pollution Control District did not make any effort to reach out to valley residents for input.

After all, elected officials and public agencies are in place to represent us. Not to supervise or regulate us on a whim.

Regarding the pollution readings, I wonder how thorough those data collection attempts were. How often they were taken, etc.
Mojca
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September 15, 2012
There should be fees and inspections...I am sick of some folks illegally burning their smelly garbage...always after business hours.

No Mojca
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September 17, 2012
Burning Garbage has always been illegal. This isn't about that. If the fire departments would actually enforce this law, that's another story. I can't count how many times I have called them for what tweakers and crackheads do on a regular basis and all they do is come out and make them put it out. THAT's what we need FINES to fees!
Air Fan
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September 14, 2012
Rick, Thank you for bringing attention to the fact that something must be done to reduce carbon monoxide levels in SLV.

Boulder creek has alarming carbon monoxide levels, the statistics show what OCEA will barely allow for an 8hr shift. (35ppm carbon monoxide) In the valley air! Carbon monoxide is bad.. it can cause lung cancer and other health provlems over prolonged exposure. (for example living in SLV...)

http://www.homefacts.com/airquality/California/Santa-Cruz-County/Boulder-Creek.html

Boulder Creek has a fantastic green waste policy - it's unlimited removal with garbage service!, you can even use your own bins, turn it in people instead of burning it! :)

The previous commenters are correct, people in the area do not want to have harsher regulations, inspections, have to pay more, what we really need to do is educate people how to be more responsible, and try to have a better air quality for our families to grow up in.

Please everyone, try to burn less / keep the air clean.

Bernadettte
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September 15, 2012
Brilliant comment. Education yes, bureaucracy from false environmentalists no.
Jim C
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September 17, 2012
So where again is this so called BC monitoring station? The air quality control folks don't have a monitor in the BC area, they are still trying to get one on the fire station. Note that ALL of these monitors are in high traffic areas...which could be skewing the readings....

As for the "green waste policy" have you actually used it? It is only unlimited if you have unlimited cans to put the stuff out for it. the garbage company only provides TWO cans per household. Try using those on even a quarter acre of redwood duff...

I agree with you on the fact that education is key; and subsidies for those who use wood fires for heat so that they can be switched over to the efficient stoves.
SJH
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September 20, 2012
Dear flatlander why did you move to the forest? Burning our fires is how many of us keep warm. You want regulations move to the bay area where they have air police neighbors ratting each other out. I'll bet you moved up here a started cutting down trees too. Here's an idea move out.
Bryce Ramirez
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September 14, 2012
Really? Inspections? Fees? Code compliance ninnies entering our properties and homes?

Time for a property owners group to form in the San Lorenzo Valley to advocate against these control freaks.
StartNow
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September 14, 2012
Bryce..We can start by not voting for Hammer or any of the groups who support him. Most people live up here to be away from the regulations and meddling of our gov't or the so called non-profit funnels, but they appear to be taking more and more. And of course if you disagree with them you are a NIMBY, Traitor or a Republican..
oh, wow!
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September 14, 2012
Seriously? Apparently the Hammer Haters (Startnow) will latch on to EVERY issue to try and tag him with things that have nothing to do with the supervisor's race. Get a clue- this is coming from the air quality board- that's a different group.

While I tend to agree with the "no regulation" statement, reality is "those who abuse the right are destined to cause regulations." Unfortunately, these people in Monterey are trying to severely restrict burns. It was unfortunate that the Press Banner published their article so late in this process. Now we have to fight even harder.

And Rich, Tom or whatever your name is, come out of the dark and admit you're just so full of anger over something.... something... anything!
Iloveoxygen
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September 15, 2012
You'd rather have your family get sick and die from the extremely high levels of carbon monoxide and other pollutants in the air caused by too many burn piles and clogged wood burning stoves? These can cause asthma, lung cancer, and many other lung problems.

Time for the smart and responsible residents/home owners of Boulder Creek and the surrounding areas to form a stop these idiots from ruining our lungs with their burn piles committee.
Bernadettte
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September 15, 2012
How does one "form a stop"?

Are they really all "idiots"?

What would your "form a stop" do?

Advocate for inspections on people's land in their homes?

Do tell.
I love O2 too
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September 17, 2012
Iloveoxygen- jump to conclusions much? you just touched on the absurdity of all this- no basis in fact on any of the allegations other than THREE monitoring stations for ONE season this past year, which was DRY. Hardly representative of a typical mountain winter.

The REAL problem are the people burning illegally. we don't see anyone working to put a stop to that, and this nonsense certainly won't step up the enforcement, as someone else here apparently already tried to point out....
Nora Burnett
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September 13, 2012
No, we do not want inspections. Are you serious Rick Goebel? You would advocate for inspectors to come into homes to check out the wood burning stoves?

Unbelievable.
Iloveoxygen
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September 15, 2012
What's unbelievable is the fact that people don't care about the air quality here. Do you realize that there are extremely high levels of carbon monoxide and other pollutants in the air in the San Lorenzo Valley? Our kids and families are breathing this air. Over time this can and will cause major health problems, for example asthma, lung cancer, and other lung problems. The worst air quality is at the schools, extremely high levels of carbon monoxide and etc.! People of Boulder Creek and the surrounding areas get it together, we need to make a change before we all get sick and eventually die from this. Stop having burn piles and clean your wood burning stoves often. If you put your extra green waste in bins the garbage company will take them.
I love O2 too
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September 17, 2012
Paranoia. that's what we need.

Spoken like a truly clueless individual.

"extremely high levels" based upon a couple of measurement stations set up in the last year.

Get a clue. Pay attention. Knowledge is power.


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