Waste oil heater ban likely to move forward

It’s sometimes surprising which topics elicit the most passionate responses from readers. Take for instance the cover story on the June issue of Truck News (Up in Smoke) about the impending ban of waste oil space heaters in Southern Ontario. While truck shop owners are among the largest user groups of the technology, I wasn’t expecting the plethora of responses that story triggered.
I have received many strongly-worded an opinionated phone calls and e-mails since the latest issue hit the street. All but one have expressed outrage at the government decision to ban the space heaters – a move that appears to be politically-motivated. Even a waste oil hauler – a guy who stands to benefit from the ban – called to say he disagrees with it.
Of particular interest was an e-mail from Lloyd Clare, the guy who was responsible for permitting the use of 600-plus waste oil space heaters in Ontario. Along with a colleague, he wrote the book on waste oil heaters (the appendix on used oil in the CSA B1329 oil burner code, more specifically) and says they pose no risk to the environment. He agreed with individuals quoted in the article that the province’s ban is politically-motivated and driven by the re-refining industry.
“Used oil furnaces put out less VOCs than natural gas and burn cleaner than #2 furnaces in terms of carbon emissions because of the superior atomization method. They put out less emissions than a new automobile going down the 401 and about half the ash of a wood fireplace. In general, 12 to 20 times more furnaces can be installed in a building than is required to heat it and still meet emissions standards. The point here is, and I know what I am talking about, this is not an environmental issue – this is corruption of the highest order,” he wrote. You can read his entire letter in the July issue of Truck News, along with some other reader responses.
Unfortunately, it appears attempts to derail the ban may prove unsuccessful. The OTA has been lobbying against the ban and appealing to the MOE to, at the very least, extend a grandfather clause on existing space heaters. But an OTA official told me yesterday that even though there’s plenty of scientific evidence that the space heaters pose no risk to the environment, the province is bound and bent on proceeding with the ban. It boils down to the fact the province feels that recycling oil through a re-refiner is fundamentally more prudent than allowing users to burn the oil themselves for heat. If that’s the case, then no amount of scientific evidence presented by opponents of the ban is likely to change the MOE’s mind on this matter. They’ve dug in their heels. Made up their mind. Science be damned.
For what it’s worth, you can let the MOE know how you feel about the impending ban by calling Minister Laurel Broten’s office at 416-314-6790.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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