The Washington State Legislature is close to expanding its power when it comes to wood stoves—in an alarming way—in SB 6102 and HB 2326 (which has passed the House).


House Bill 6102, passed the House 66 to 30, Senate Bill 2326 now in Senate Committee on Environment. Steve Tharinger sponsored this bill. Kevin Van De Wedge voted for it. Both are from the Olympic Peninsula. The legislative committee recommends "do pass."

What these bills would do is to define what “prohibit” means to include “forcing homeowners to remove or destroy their wood stoves’’. You might follow the law, you might even never use your wood stove—but the state could require you to rip it out. This would include stone fireplaces.

 Here is the full provision:

“Prohibit the use” or “prohibition” may include requiring disclosure, removal, rendering inoperable, providing evidence of destruction, or other similar requirements as may be approved by rule by a local air pollution control authority or the department.”

Think about this:  “prohibiting the use” of a wood stove in order to keep the air clean suddenly means the power to create a wood stove registry (“disclosure”), or to take or destroy them? Simply by redefining one word, this legislation dramatically expands government power in a way that could trample property rights and create a dangerous precedent in other areas of law.

Think about this:  Washington State just experienced a winter storm that left many without power for days while the weather was bitter cold and many streets impassible. Does the legislature really want to eliminate what for many people is their only source of backup heat in such an emergency?

One last thought: Considering past actions by the government in things like “beach watchers” and other environmental efforts, it is probably fair to expect that they will urge people to call and report neighbors when they see smoke coming from a fireplace.

 

FOR THOSE WHO GIVE A DAMN- HERE’S THE SENATE DIRECTORY: http://www.leg.wa.gov/senate/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

House Bill 6102 would enable unspecified, unaccountable, unelected "authorities" to prohibit use of fireplaces and even the use of Oregon-approved clean-burning stoves under certain environmental situations

Enforcement of this proposed law “may include requiring disclosure, removal, rendering inoperable, providing evidence of destruction, or other similar requirements as may be approved by rule by a local air pollution control authority or the department.”