GV mulls final vote on burn barrel ban | TheUnion.com

GV mulls final vote on burn barrel ban

Eileen JoyceGary Hunt stands near the burn barrel he keeps in the backyard of his Grass Valley home.
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The Grass Valley City Council today is expected to take a second – and final – vote to ban the use of burn barrels within the city limits.

If it passes, it would become effective in 30 days.

The vote comes barely a week after the California Air Resources Board unanimously voted to prohibit the use of burn barrels throughout the state, effective Jan. 1, 2004.

The state board last Thursday also voted to prohibit garbage burning, a practice already banned in Nevada County. Exempt from the new rules will be some sparsely populated areas, none of which are in western Nevada County, Gretchen Bennitt, director of the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District, said Monday.

The Grass Valley Fire Department staff would enforce the ban within city limits. Fire Chief Hank Weston said his staff wants to educate the public before starting to issue fines. A fine schedule has yet to be established, he said.

State and city officials say burn barrels are poorly ventilated and cause cancer-causing dioxins to pollute the air.

Household garbage burning is one of the largest uncontrolled source of dioxins in the United States, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Gary Hunt, who lives on South Auburn Street, is resigned to the fact his 8-year-old burn barrel is destined for the scrap heap. “It’s a lost cause,” he said.

But Hunt questioned the city burn permit he obtained Nov. 1, which reads: “The use of burn barrels or incinerators are prohibited.” There was no ban in place in November, he noted.

Weston said Monday the sentence was a mistake. “It was a clerical error,” he said.

The staff caught the mistake right away but some incorrect permits may still be out there, Weston said. There is no ban at this time.

The council gave preliminary approval to the ban ordinance Feb. 12.

WHAT: Grass Valley City Council

WHEN: 7 p.m. today

WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, 125 E. Main St.


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