Governor Brown Signs SB 563 for Wood Smoke Reduction Program to Help Californians Make the Leap to Cleaner, Healthier Heating

October 11, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 563, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), which formally establishes a Wood Smoke Reduction Program at the Air Resources Board and helps Californians transition from wood-burning devices to cleaner, healthier alternatives.

Changing out one dirty, inefficient wood stove is equivalent to taking five old diesel buses off the road, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Wood Smoke Reduction Program will provide voluntary incentives to Californians to replace old, uncertified wood-burning stoves with more energy-efficient alternatives.

“The wildfires burning across California are teaching a terrible lesson in the dangers of wood smoke for people’s health, especially for children and those with asthma, allergies or other conditions,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “With residential wood smoke on track to be the biggest source of human-caused black carbon, SB 563 will help Californians afford cleaner alternatives.”

The Wood Smoke Reduction Program takes another step toward the target Senator Lara set in the Super Pollutant Reduction Act of 2016 (SB 1383) to reduce black carbon emissions in half by 2030.

Wood smoke from home heaters will be the biggest source of human-caused black carbon by 2030, according to the California Air Resources Board.

Emissions from wood smoke contribute to asthma attacks, respiratory diseases, heart attacks, lung cancer, and slowed lung development in children, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. People with existing heart and lung conditions, older adults, children and teenagers, and pregnant women are at the greatest risk of black carbon exposure.

Research shows that wood smoke emissions are similar to tobacco and automobile pollution in their negative impact on children and adults.

Last year the Legislature appropriated $5 million through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund which is available for the Wood Smoke Reduction Program to replace old, dirty wood burning stoves with cleaner and more efficient alternatives – such as heat pumps, solar, electric and natural gas heaters. It will reach both rural and urban residents who need that help to make the transition.

SB 563 builds on the work of local air districts with similar programs.

“Wood smoke change-out programs are extremely popular, and the state is ready to team up with air districts to bring these incentives to more Californians who want them,” said Senator Lara.