Otago regional councillor Michael Laws is unrepentant about burning coal in his home fireplace, saying it is not illegal and there is no proof burning coal has any negative health impacts.
Mr Laws lives in Cromwell, an air zone 1 area, meaning his burning of coal breaches regional council rules.
He said during discussion in an ORC meeting last week about banning coal-burning in Milton that he was a coal user and the council would have to take the coal from his ''cold dead hands''.
He said the ORC's idea to ban coal came from a 10-year-old report that did not prove anyone in Cromwell or Alexandra had any negative health impacts from coal-burning.
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''No empirical proof exists as to the burning of superior Ohai coal and [links to] any ailments suffered by local residents.''
Attempts to ban coal in Alexandra and Cromwell would be met with ''serious community resistance'', Mr Laws said. Banning coal would not alter the fact that air quality would still exceed arbitrary limits for more than 40 nights in winter.
The greatest health threat in winter months was the cold, ''not coal'', he said.
He said it was not illegal to burn coal in any of the air zones in Otago, and coal was commercially sold ''and consumed happily by residents in Cromwell and Alexandra''.
At last week's ORC meeting, council environmental scientist Deborah Mills said coal fires were effectively banned in air zone 1 areas, because it was almost impossible to comply with emission standards while burning the fuel. But coal is not banned outright.
Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said for clarity the council should be banning coal completely in air zone 1 areas.
''The (ORC) policy says we shouldn't be using it anyway. Let's be brave and consult on banning coal in air zone 1 towns,'' he said.