MADERA COUNTY – Residents who qualify and are selected for a new clean-air program could earn between $1,000 to $2,500 for trading in old wood and pellet-burning stoves in favor of new devices designed to reduce environmental pollution.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is currently accepting applications for its Burn Cleaner Program.
The program provides incentives to some residents to replace their old wood or pellet burning devices with new, cleaner hearth options such as a natural gas insert or an EPA Phase II certified wood or pellet insert, according to the District.
The purpose of the program is to help reduce particulate matter produced from older devices which contribute to air pollution during the colder months. For more information about the program, interested participants are urged to review the program guidelines and application. Burn Cleaner vouchers are issued on a first-come first-served basis.
Certified wood insert/freestanding stove, certified pellet insert/freestanding stove, and natural gas insert/freestanding stove owners who participate in the program may be eligible for up to $1,000 in grant money.
Applicants who are eligible for low-income designation may be give up to $2,500. Additional incentives towards gas devices for standard and low-income residents may amount to as much as $500, which would apply only to elibible installation costs beyond the funding amount.
The old device must be located at a residence within the District boundaries which include Madera County. Applicants must submit an application and obtain an approved voucher from the District prior to purchasing the new device. New gas fireplaces must be certified as heater-rated. Gas fireplaces designed exclusively for aesthetic and decorative use are not eligible.
Organizers caution that the Burn Cleaner program has been hugely successful, and may run out of funding before the end of the winter season. For that reason they stress that potential participants must be aware of a few key points before proceeding with an application.
“Do not purchase and/or install the new hearth device until you have a voucher in your possession,” warns the District notice, “as funding is not guaranteed until a voucher has been issued to you for your project.“
Additionally, they remind residents, vouchers are only issued while program funding is still available.
“Anyone applying for a Burn Cleaner voucher after funds are exhausted will be placed on a waiting list and a voucher may be issued at a later date if additional funds become available, again, on a first-come first-serve basis.”
Applicants will be notified via mail if eligible for the waiting list.
“To allow as many residents as possible to participate in the program, the voucher level was recently reduced by the District’s Governing Board from up to $1,500 to up to $1,000.”
The low-income level and additional funding for gas installation have not changed, according to recent reports.