Should Fireplaces Be Banned?

Before you laugh, it may happen in San Francisco, Portland’s — er — “Big Sister.”

Last week (appropriately enough, on Thanksgiving Day), Jeffrey Earl Warren penned a defense of the family hearth in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Under the auspices of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, “˜public hearings’ are being held to determine the fate of the family hearth”¦.

“[I]n the interest of basic fairness, we’d at least like the decision-makers to employ the rudiments of the scientific method, rather than riding the winds of energy dependence and global warming hysteria, before coming to a final decision”¦.

“Where is the research? The Chronicle reported that “˜government studies’ indicate that 33 percent of all “˜particulate matter’ comes from your fireplace and mine. With all the industry and all the cars in the Bay Area, does anyone actually believe that?

“Shouldn’t we be given more quantitative information such has, “˜How many fireplaces are there in the nine counties? How many are used each night?…How much “particulate matter” is expelled from each fire?'”

Unfortunately, these questions seem to be irrelevant to politicians tripping over themselves to jump on the global warming bandwagon. As Oregon prides itself on being a leader in all things “green,” beware””taking your car is no longer good enough; your chimney may be next.

Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Development Coordinator at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market think tank.