Many of us have dreams of living off the grid (or at least escaping to a wilderness cabin for a few days). In almost every one of those dreams, there’s a crackling wood stove in the background.
“Shortly after the re-election of President Obama, the agency announced new radical environmental regulations that threaten to effect people who live off the grid. The EPA’s new environmental regulations reduce the amount of airborne fine-particle matter from 15 micrograms to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air,” reports Off Grid Survival.
On one hand, this is a step in the right direction for curbing air pollution: the open burning of biomass (wood) releases a complex mixture of gases and fine particles. Both long- and short-term particle exposures have been linked to health problems, not to mention the cumulative effect of wood burning all over the world, which sends climate changing particulate into the atmosphere.
On the other hand, the EPA’s new policy threatens to make off-grid living impossible for some who have never known anything else.
“The ability to heat your home off-grid is a major part of most preparedness plans,” argues The Organic Prepper. “Heating with wood is the number one way to do this. Much like our food supplies, the ability to keep ourselves warm and healthy and the ability to cook without being connected to the grid are vital to our freedom.
“Those of us who live this lifestyle are constantly targeted. In many places it’s illegal to collect rainwater. Growing food in your front yard instead of flowers is all but outlawed. Sellers of raw milk have their farms raided by SWAT teams as though they’re running a meth lab instead of a dairy…We, the self-sufficient, by our very nature, are a threat to this insidiously spreading control. Our self-sufficiency means that we won’t be forced to be subjugated, tagged, chipped, and inventoried like our less prepared friends and neighbors.”
Set aside some of the conspiracy speak, and you can’t deny that the author has a point.
Yes, air pollution is a dangerous, out of control problem in America, but is going after the small percentage of citizens that live off-grid in rural communities really the best way to address it?
In many of these towns and villages, there is no such thing as reliable gas heat. Electric lines and plumbing services just don’t extend that far into the wilderness, and frankly, that’s how the residents like it. However, the EPA’s rule means that most would have to scrap their current woodburning stoves in favor of more efficient (and expensive) models. And if a resident can’t afford the upgrade, they could find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
In actuality, the ones truly responsible for particulate emissions in America are those operating coal-fired power plants. They’ve got much deeper pockets than the average homesteader, however, meaning that holding them responsible is slow going.
How do you feel about the EPA regulation on woodburning stoves? Will the new law affect you directly? Please share your thoughts in a comment.
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