Santa Barbara county, California, is paying people to remove their wood stoves — and replace them with gas or electric heat. Let me repeat that — taxpayer funds are being used to bribe people to boycott firewood. And pellets.
Direct from their web site:
Qualified Wood-Burning Devices to be Removed or Replaced:
- Operable Woodstoves
(Conventional, Catalytic, Non-Catalytic, and Pellet)
- Operable Wood-Burning Fireplaces
(Open Hearth and Fireplace Insert)
Qualified Devices for Replacement Project:
- Natural Gas or Propane Fireplace Inserts*
- Natural Gas or Propane Free Standing Heating Stoves*
- Electric Heat Pumps
*The new device must be heater-rated and comply with the American National Standard ANSI Z21.88/CSA 2.33 (Vented Gas Fireplace Heaters)
Incentive funding will not be awarded to install the following devices:
- EPA-certified woodstoves
To be fair, many residents of Santa Barbara county are located on the coast and prone to temperature inversions that cause problems trapping smog and particulates at low altitudes, and attempts to mitigate the problem do seem necessary. However, to do so in a way that directly attacks the market for firewood and pellets is heavy-handed and short-sighted — especially in a location prone to earthquakes and wildfires.
Reducing the market for firewood and pellets directly affects the market for waste wood created by wildfire fuel reduction efforts, raising the cost and discouraging participation by logging companies. Others in the state are worried about damage done to forests by the companies involved in these efforts while awarding contracts to the lowest bidders who will operate as cheaply and quickly as possible.
This is why the NFA needs your help. We need to speak up for firewood, loudly.
The agenda of the agency promoting this program is to clean the air in Santa Barbara county — not to make sure the firewood industry is unharmed, or that forestry workers can afford to feed their families. With sufficient funding, the NFA could take an active role in these initiatives and speak up for those who produce and sell firewood.
It’s not too late, but it’s now or never.
As the story above shows, firewood has no representation able to compete against well-funded organizations such as big energy companies, the American Lung Association, or the California Air Resources Board.
Do you want to have a voice?
Do you want your opinion heard?