Shirlene Barrington of Pinon Pines signs the No to No-Burn Days petition as Frazier Park Market cashier Martha Morgan looks on.
Many Vow Non-Compliance with Regulation
By Gary Meyer and Patric Hedlund
Anywhere you went in Frazier Park, this past week, people were signing a petition to protest the ban on wood burning imposed October 16 by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD).
On Sunday, Dec. 14 petitions that were on the counters at Ace Hardware for only 20 minutes already had two dozen signatures. “We got about 1,400 signatures in only three days,” said Chuck Woerner, who started the protest with a letter to the editor of The Mountain Enterprise and calls to the pollution control district.
The SJVAPCD is facing federal and state requirements to do even more to clean up the air in the valley. Arvin was declared to have the worst air in the nation for the third year in a row.
At Ace and Frazier Park Market, mountain residents asked the same question: Why are we being told we can’t heat our home when they haven’t shown that wood smoke up here even affects the air down in the valley?
Some residents of Frazier Park think SJVAPCD is being overbroad by rescinding a previous exemption for homes above the 3,000 foot level where they say snow and chilly air can render natural gas alone inadequate and too expensive for keeping their families warm.
Supervisor Ray Watson, who cast the deciding vote October 16, listened to a Mountain Enterprise reporter read the petition complaints Monday, Dec. 14. “There are some good questions there,” he said, “I welcome their bringing this to the attention of the board on Thursday. We need to ask if there are things that can be done that would address the concerns. I hope someone will speak who can make a good presentation to the board.” Economic hardship imposed on families that budgeted for their winter’s wood and were suddenly told there might be 48 no-burn days is a strong point, he said.
Brian Campbell of Frazier Park said, as he signed the petition, “I will not not burn wood.”
The petitions, launched by Woerner and Brian Bierman of the Frazier Mountain area, will be presented at the board meeting on December 18. The public is invited to attend at 2700 M Street, Suite 275, Bakersfield. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. To speak, you must sign in before 8:45 a.m.
This is part of the December 19, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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