Air pollution; regulating emissions resulting from use of outdoor wood-burning heaters. (SB641)

Introduced By

Sen. Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Air pollution; outdoor wood-burning heaters.  Requires the Air Pollution Control Board to develop a model ordinance for localities that could be used, at the discretion of the locality, to regulate air pollution emissions resulting from the use of outdoor hydronic heaters such as residential wood-fired boilers. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/20/2012Presented and ordered printed 12103644D
01/20/2012Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
01/26/2012Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (11-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2012Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
01/31/2012Read second time and engrossed
02/01/2012Impact statement from DPB (SB641)
02/01/2012Read third time and passed Senate (22-Y 17-N) (see vote tally)
02/13/2012Placed on Calendar
02/13/2012Read first time
02/13/2012Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
02/20/2012Assigned ACNRsub: Natural Resources
02/22/2012Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting (3-Y 4-N)
03/10/2012Left in Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 5 minutes.


Rebecca Smith writes:

This bill is needed to protect all homeowners. Owners of these units do not have any consideration for neighboring homeowners. Neighboring homeowners have to endure the smoke, fumes, and odors that seep into their homes, attic, etc. Health concerns are an issue. You cannot use your heat or air conditioner due to the outside smoke and fumes. There are laws for cigarette smoking in establishments, but this field is left wide open with no protection. We have endured the above situation for 2 years. I wrote senators, congressmen, the President, and our local Board of Supervisors. Then, I received a letter from an attorney on behalf of the neighbor who owned one of these units to the effect that they could sue us. I consulted an attorney - only to be told you need to be able to document the source, view it and its path. DEQ IS NEEDED TO ASSIST IN BRINGING ABOUT RESOLUTIONS FOR THESE TYPES OF PROBLEMS.

Tom writes:

Have you seen our site

All of the wood smoke /negative health effects can be researched here. Tell your attorney.

Rebecca Smith writes:


I have previously read numerous website articles on the outdoor wood furnace burning issues. Some states had banned them, while some homeowners sued the owner of the units and also the manufacturer of the unit. When I wrote to the Senators, delegates, President, EPA/DEQ, I documented this in depth.
In 2010 - SB1303 was introduced.
In 2011 - SB641 was introduced (the same bill).
This bill would have allowed DEQ to assist the counties in implementing regulations/abatement of these units. Both years, this bill passed the Senate, but was killed both times in the house. If you pull up these bills, you will see the history and what Senators/delegates voted for/against it. It contained an impact statement that indicated a low cost for DEQ to implement this. This bill would have helped the homeowner,if the local locality would implement it in their county.

The bottom line is your local county/city will not take action, the health department does not have authority, DEQ does not have enough authority or will not implement their authority, and the general assembly is not going to implement legislation to protect the homeowner from being smoked out of their homes and incur health problems. If a bill is implemented, it takes a lot of people signing petitions, and showing up at the general assembly in support of it. I feel that the federal government need to take a stand in this issue, as the counties and states refuse to do so. This is a health issue.

Rebecca Smith writes:


These bills were introduced in the general assembly as shown below:

Air pollution; regulating emissions resulting from use of outdoor wood-burning heaters. (SB641)

2011 - SB1303
2012 - SB641