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Burning issues

June 05, 2007

Re "Plan to clean air may kill ambience," June 1

Our family drives relatively fuel-efficient cars, limits unnecessary trips and carpools when possible. During the winter months, however, we often watch a movie in the evening while enjoying a wood-burning fireplace. This fireplace heats the family room, which seems more sensible than cranking up the gas furnace to waste energy heating the whole house when we are only using a small part of it. In addition, natural gas is not a renewable resource (wood is). Now the South Coast Air Quality Management District is recommending banning the use of wood-burning fireplaces to limit pollution. Rather than starting with this ridiculously small area of concern, why doesn't it focus on the big polluters? Ships, locomotives, big-rigs, lawnmowers and leaf blowers -- the list goes on. By starting with the smallest offenders and working up, it will take several generations to make a noticeable difference in air quality. It is too bad that these officials can't use common sense.

TERRIE AND

ROGER MCKINLEY

Aliso Viejo

*

Not everyone uses their fireplace for ambience. We live in a historic 1903 Craftsman and use our fireplace not only in the winter but rely on it for our home's heating needs. Without it, the house goes cold. I'll be the first one in my neighborhood to fight tickets and fines for using our only source for heat. What's next? Banning barbecues in the summer?

JEFF CAMP

Los Angeles

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I wholeheartedly agree with doing away with wood-burning fireplaces. On my lunch hour last week, I strolled to the Ralphs grocery store across the street and there, at the front door, was a colossal stack of firewood (next to a pyramid of charcoal briquettes) to be purchased for burning. With L.A. assuming its place, once again, as the American city with the worst air quality, banning wood-burning and charcoal-burning grills and fireplaces is appropriate. They are dirty and sooty and nothing more than habit or what we have become accustomed to. In all honesty, who needs them?

ELLEN HAGEMAN

Los Angeles

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