Sunday, July 26, 2015

Of course you're allowed to cook out in your back yard -- until you aren't

Think the nanny state would never go this far? Think again:
Pinellas County, Fl — Who knew that the all-American tradition of backyard barbecue could result in a visit from the State, in the Land of the “Free,” giving you a warning for firing up the pit? Well, it happened in Pinellas County, Florida to Scotty Jordan earlier this week.
In a video uploaded to Facebook on July 22, Joe Graham from Air Compliance is writing a complaint form for “objectionable odor” from Jordan’s property where he was barbecuing. A neighbor living across the street called to complain, as she has apparently done many times before.
This time she found a willing co-conspirator.
“I can smell it again right now, but I’m on your property,” Graham tells the group. “You’re allowed to have it smell on your property, so that doesn’t count, but when I’m on the street, that’s when it counts.”
“So we’re supposed to control the smoke and the wind and where it’s blowing it?” he asks.
The Environmental Specialist says, “What you’re doing looks like it may be counter to the rule as far as the objectionable odor,” as he looks at his clipboard for reassurance.
This isn't the first time we've heard of this sort of thing. The Environmental Protection Agency announced several months ago:
that it is funding a University of California project to limit emissions resulting in grease drippings with a special tray to catch them and a "catalytic" filtration system.
The $15,000 project has the "potential for global application," said the school.
The school said that the technology they will study with the EPA grant is intended to reduce air pollution and cut the health hazards to BBQ "pit masters" from propane-fueled cookers.
What does that mean, exactly? Pretty much just what it sounds like:
While intended to reduce "air pollution as well as health hazards in Southern California," the EPA said it expects "to limit the overall air pollution PM (particulate matter) emissions from barbecuing and to alleviate some of the acute health hazards that a barbecue pit master can experience from inhalation."
The EPA is not invited over the next time I smoke a pork shoulder, grill some chicken or hamburgers, or any other time I cook outside. Is there one damn thing the federal government can keep its nose out of?

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