New York state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would exempt the burning of wood, used for cooking or heating buildings, from restrictions under the state’s 2019 climate law.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) mandates the state lower greenhouse gas emissions to 40% of 1990 levels by 2030, and by 85% by 2050.

The Rural Energy Freedom Act, introduced on Wednesday by Republican Assemblyman Robert Smullen, would make the exemption for wood burning.

Democratic state Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon said on Friday she will co-sponsor the legislation.

“While the CLCPA was well intended, it did not consider how many constituents in the 119th District heat their homes with wood furnaces,” she said in a statement. “The CLCPA could inadvertently ban the use of wood as a fuel source and prohibit those living in rural areas from using it to heat their homes. This commonsense legislation will ensure the CLCPA will not prohibit or restrict New Yorkers from using wood as a fuel source."

Using wood as a fuel source is cleaner than fossil fuels like oil and coal. In 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency declared wood burning a carbon-neutral energy source and the federal government recognized it as a renewable energy source in 2022.

The bill is currently in the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation.

Both Smullen and Buttenschon represent Assembly districts in the Mohawk Valley.


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