2010 March 9: AK Fairbanks: Air Quality PM2.5 Fact/Informational Sheet
GROWING AIR QUALITY PROBLEM:
On December 22, 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency declared part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough a Non-Attainment area for fine particulate pollution (PM
2.5). In the winter, PM2.5 concentrations in the Non-Attainment area routinely exceed the allowable limit (20-30 times each winter), thereby violating the federal health-based standards. PM2.5 is a concern as excessive levels of PM2.5 impact the health and well-being of Borough residents. The problem continues to worsen over time and appropriate measures need to be put into place in order to reduce PM2.5.
Below are the days per winter season (Jan-Mar and Oct-Dec) that we have exceeded the EPA standard:
WHAT WE KNOW
PM2.5 concentrations are a health risk to children, the elderly, and those with respiratory or heart disease, folks with the least number of options, are the first to suffer. In the wintertime, PM2.5 concentrations exceed the allowable levels set out in the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) which is based on peer reviewed scientific research to assess the health risks associated with PM2.5 exposure. An extensive body of evidence proves the health risks of exposure to elevated PM2.5 concentrations.
PM2.5 and preliminary results now indicate that it is the most significant contributor.
PM2.5 is not due to dust – dust particles are much larger and our instruments filter the dust out of the measurements.
and Fairbanks must have a plan to control PM2.5 in place by 2013.
PM2.5 Non-Attainment area was established to encompass the areas of known high concentrations and those areas that could contribute, via drainage or transport, to the areas of high concentrations. Areas with zero population such as the Tanana Flats were excluded.
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- We cannot solve this health problem without community support and education programs. It is a serious community health problem that will require serious community input and solutions.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
PM2.5 problem is within isolated areas within the Borough.
WHY IS THE BOROUGH INVOLVED
WHAT IS THE BOROUGH’S ROLE
WHAT IS THE BOROUGH DOING
The Borough drafted Ordinance 2010-17, which was not advanced by the Assembly. The Pollution Control Commission (PCC) is currently reviewing the document and will make recommendations at their March 9th meeting. Mayor Hopkins and his staff will consider the PCC’s recommendations and other comments for potential inclusion in the ordinance and plan to submit it back to the Assembly in April. 2010. If advanced, the Ordinance will go to a work session for discussion and then will come before the Assembly for public hearing.
WHAT DOES ORDINANCE 2010-17 DO?
- The Ordinance provides for a nuisance provision. The right to comfortable enjoyment of life and property is one that should be enjoyed by all citizens and a neighbor’s solid fuel heating device should not injure another person’s property, health or unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property rights.
- The Ordinance provides for a voluntary burn restriction during periods of poor air quality.
WHAT ORDINANCE 2010-17 DOES NOT DO?
after the adoption of the ordinance.
1970 Federal Clean Air Act Passed.
1975 First DEC-FNSB MOU signed with minor amendments in 1986, 1990, and 1993 addressing languages changes and funding amounts.
1978 FNSB Request and Governor Approval as lead organization for developing and implementing a plan for achieving the CO Ambient air quality standards in the FNSB.
2003 DEC-FNSB MOU major amendment defining PM
2004 DEC offered an additional $9000 to support ½ year of expanded monitoring to help the Borough better ascertain the PM
2.5 problem, Borough Assembly rejected these funds.
2005 DEC-FNSB MOU amended to include expanded PM monitoring including an additional $18,500 annually.
2005 Borough recognized the impending EPA action regarding PM
2.5 standard and started gathering information to address the attainment analyses and initiated special purpose monitoring in accordance with 2005 MOU.
2006 EPA Revised the PM
2.5 standard lowering the allowable level in a 24-hr period from 65 micrograms per cubic meter to 35 micrograms per cubic meter. EPA requested State’s recommendations for Non-Attainment status. Joint Borough-DEC-EPA Region 10 discussions on Non-Attainment Boundaries conclude. Pollution Control Commission meeting held to brief the commission.
2008 EPA sent draft designation to the Alaska Governor’s Office proposing Non-Attainment Boundaries that included most of the Borough.
2008 Borough and DEC provided technical evidence supporting reducing the Non-Attainment area, which was accepted by EPA.
2008 July Pollution Control Commission (PCC) meeting held where a panel of experts was assembled to present the Health effects of PM
2.5 and provide open public discussion of the problem and potential control strategies.
2008 Sept Pollution Control Commission meeting held to update PM
2.5 issues and provide public input regarding ongoing discussions with the EPA.
2009 Borough commissioned the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) to produce a guidance tool for policy decisions based on modeled emission reductions for potential control strategies and recommendations.
2009 DEC-FNSB MOU negotiated amendment to delegate PM
2.5 primary planning authority to the Borough.
2009 April Pollution Control Commission meeting held to discuss PM
2.5 issues and the MOU amendments and the final CCHRC report.
2009 July Air Quality Symposium held to solicit input to help understand and solve the PM
2.5 problem where a special evening session was offered to encourage public participation.
2009 July Borough Assembly postponed action on negotiated MOU amendments.
2009 July 30 Ordinance introduced to ask residents if they want local control of the PM
2009 Aug 15 Borough Air Quality staff at Tanana Valley State Fair to provide information on the Proposed Ordinance.
2009 Aug 20 Public hearing on ordinance and assembly action.
2009 Aug 25 Pollution Control Commission/Public Testimony on proposed Ordinance to address Solid-Fuel Burning Devices in the non-attainment area.
2009 Sept Federal Register to be published regarding the EPA Non-Attainment designations (tentative).
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