Smullen Works to Protect Wood Burning for Fuel in New York State

Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C-Mohawk Valley and the Adirondacks) is working to protect the rights of New York families who have relied on wood burning for heating and fuel for generations. While the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) has set forth goals to lower emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030 and by 85 percent by 2050, this heavy-handed plan does not acknowledge how much so many rural communities statewide depend on wood burning for warmth during harsh winter months. To combat this, Smullen has introduced the Rural Energy Freedom Act, which will help ensure New Yorkers, especially those living in rural areas of our state, can continue to burn wood for fuel.

Wood burning has been recognized as a sustainable and carbon-neutral fuel source by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal government, and Smullen argues there is no reason to do away with this practice so many New York families rely on.

“I am very proud to move this proposal forward so rural New York residents are not overlooked by the steep goals of the CLCPA,” said Smullen. “Our state has very ambitious environmental goals to tackle, but the strategies the CLCPA is enforcing to meet those goals are extremely out-of-touch and do not recognize the needs of our rural communities. The Rural Energy Freedom Act will help establish much-needed boundaries so our state can continue to work toward its environmental goals while tending to the needs of all its residents statewide. There is no reason to take wood burning for fuel away from our residents, and I will fight to protect their right to continue to do so.”

The Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation is currently reviewing the Rural Energy Freedom Act. Smullen asserts if the act is passed, it would create necessary amendments to the CLCPA so New Yorkers are not overwhelmed during our state’s transition to zero-emission.

“Our state’s environmental future is bright, so long as New York families, businesses and municipalities are not forced to conform to new ways of life that are rushed and not sustainable. Especially in upstate regions, there is no viable alternative for wood burning—electric heating simply does not stack up when it comes to reliability. In winter, New Yorkers need fuel and heating sources they can count on. Wood burning needs to be protected,” concluded Smullen.