Some disagreement within the Democratic Environment Caucus Wednesday kept a controversial bill to prohibit outdoor wood burning furnaces from being voted on by the committee, according to the committee’s co-chair Sen. Edward Meyer.
During the closed-door caucus, lawmakers brought up a number of concerns about the bill, which would impose a prohibition on open wood burning furnaces between May 1 and Sep. 30.
“There are now a bunch of other factors being introduced,” Meyer said, standing outside the committee meeting.
One state representative asked what the point of imposing a prohibition on large isolated farms was, Meyer said.
“If you’ve got a hundred acre farm, you’re going to be so far from the nearest house, why would we be prohibiting it,” Meyer recalled.
That representative would like to see the language of the bill altered so there would be no prohibition in places where the distance to the nearest house is so far it’s irrelevant.
Another concern brought up in the caucus was whether or not the state should be preempting town authority on the furnace bans, Meyer said.
“There’s one state representative who wants to preempt the towns so there would be no local control. Other members don’t like that, they like home control,” he said.
The caucus also disagreed on a section of the bill that would require owners of “phase one” furnaces to upgrade to the cleaner-burning “phase two” standards within five years, he said. Some members felt that was an excessive financial burden to place on people, Meyer said.
Meyer said they decided to form a sub-committee to consider the issues and possibly come up with some changes. He’s hoping the bill will be ready for the committee to vote on at its meeting next week.