Fireplaces, wood stoves now under attack

Letter to the Editor:

Do you have a wood fireplace or wood stove? If so, you better start to worry because your progressive legislators just voted to approve HB 2326, a bill that “may include requiring disclosure, removal, rendering inoperable, providing evidence of destruction ... as may be approved by ... the department” of wood stoves or fireplaces in private residences. Right now the intent is for it to only apply to Pierce County and the near future possibly Yakima. But with this bill, the door is open for it to be applied to any county, particularly those upwind of the I-5 Corridor. Since the law is tied into the “national ambient air quality standard”, if the feds tighten those standards in the future, the areas affected within Washington State could automatically expand if the law applies to the entire state. Only Sen. Hargrove objected to the bill and offered an amendment “I will be taking one of 2 actions- voting NO or amending the bill to cover only Pierce County, the county whose clean air violations prompted this legislation”.

In a conversation between Kaj Ahlburg, a Port Angeles resident, and Rep. Van De Wege, Kevin said this would never actually be done, that this was not a regulation but just a “game plan” to bring Pierce County back into compliance with federal rules. But woe to Van De Wege because Kaj is a Harvard trained attorney, and knows better. Kaj responded to Van De Wege that “may include” does indeed authorize government to do the things specified in the bill, which government may not have been able to do in the absence of such authorization. He also told our representative that imposing legal rules known to be unenforceable from a practical or political standpoint was just bad policy and breeds contempt for law in general. Kaj gave as an example the addition of “no net loss” to the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines in 2003, the effect of which is being felt now.

Before you vote for any politician, please look at all the issues. Some may claim to want to protect you but if they are taking away your freedoms, and burdening you with extra costs so as to placate people outside the district or county, do they really deserve your support? Too often county officials claim they have no influence over state or federal decisions thus don’t make the effort. Working Wild Olympics showed that isn’t true. Some of our state officials stay out of federal decisions, that’s how we got the Spotted Owl fiasco and why two dams that had produced over $360 million in cheap electricity and helped build a thriving logging industry was torn down at a cost to taxpayers of $350 million. Forget what the media, or political and union leaders tell you do. Use common sense. If politicians are making decisions that increase your taxes, increasing your cost of living, decreasing your ability to recreate or enjoy life, taking away freedoms, and eliminating private sector jobs, then speak up and do the right thing.


Randy Dutton



Author, The Carbon Trap