An investment in health

We salute the Chico City Council’s adoption of mandatory no-burn days

Members of the Chico City Council are taking some flak for their approval, at their July 5 meeting, of an ordinance establishing mandatory no-burn days for home fireplaces and non-EPA-certified wood heaters during winter months. Opponents are saying recent data showing a decrease in winter smoke pollution indicates the existing voluntary program, “Check before you light,” is working.

That’s questionable. It’s more likely that favorable weather conditions played a larger role in the decrease.

In any event, studies have shown that mandatory programs are always more effective than voluntary ones, even when enforcement is complaint-driven and nonpunitive, as it will be under this ordinance. The council majority decided that Chicoans’ health is worth the small investment this ordinance requires, and we salute them for that.