Outdoor wood boiler regs. postponed indefinitely

Looks like strong rural feelings about outdoor wood boilers have got the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation running scared. After issuing new regulations for OWBs last week, the DEC decided to un-issue them.

The regulations were supposed to be discussed at a meeting of the state Environmental Board on Monday. But at that meeting, the chair of the Environmental Board made an announcement:

A decision was made to receive additional public comment on the outdoor wood boiler rule, so that item has been removed from the agenda, and will appear on a future agenda.

You can see the webcast of the meeting on the DEC's website -- the announcement about OWBs is around the two-minute mark. 

A DEC spokesperson told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that the decision to pull the regs was in response to legislation working its way through the state legislature that would make OWB regulations a local responsibility. But the newpaper notes that that legislation was in the works last week, before the DEC made its swift about-face:

Still, the decision comes as a surprise because the DEC announced last Wednesday it was submitting the proposed regulations to the Environmental Conservation board. Then five days later, on Monday, the regulations were tabled.

The Press-Republican reported that well-applied political pressure late last week led to the change:

It appears heavy pressure from a bloc of lawmakers led by Sen. Darrel Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent) and the New York State Farm Bureau pulled the rules back from final approval.

Another possible cause for the change? The abrupt firing of DEC Pete Grannis, which happened the same day the agency issued the OWB regulations.