2010 April 13: AK Fairbanks: COMMENT on Mayor Hopkins revises air quality control plan

2010 April 13: AK Fairbanks: Mayor Hopkins revises air quality control plan
by Amanda Bohman/abohman@newsminer.com
2010 April 13: AK Fairbanks: COMMENT on wood stove "grandfathering in"
Mushroom wrote on Tuesday, Apr 13 at 04:20 AM »

"The measure applies to newly installed stoves. Existing solid-fuel burning devices are grandfathered in."

Does this mean that all of the currently installed boilers can continue spewing their poison without any recourse for the neighbors who are forced to breath foul air? This hardly solves the problem.

7 hrs ago

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FAIRBANKS — Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins revised his air pollution control plan, adding a provision prohibiting dense chimney smoke that creates a nuisance for neighbors.

Hopkins said Monday that he plans to ask for assembly approval in June.

The measure, Ordinance 2010-17, sets limits on chimney smoke opacity, bans the burning of certain materials and imposes fines on the worst polluters starting late next year. The measure also establishes government programs to help people replace old, dirty stoves.

The measure applies to newly installed stoves. Existing solid-fuel burning devices are grandfathered in.

Critics of the mayor’s efforts to clean the air say no one should be penalized for trying to keep warm during Fairbanks’ cold winters. Supporters say they want to breathe clean air.

Hopkins introduced the measure in February, and the legislation has since evolved with input from the borough’s air pollution control commission.

The latest changes include a lower fine for commercial wood stove retailers caught violating the regulations. Hopkins also reduced chimney stack heights and property line setbacks for outdoor wood boilers, which are blamed for the worst air pollution in the borough.

He added a chimney replacement program.

Finally, the mayor removed language relating to chimney smoke emissions outside the non-attainment area, a term used to describe the smoke hazard area. The non-attainment area stretches from North Pole to the Old Nenana Highway and includes the Goldstream Valley.

The mayor cautioned that other provisions in the measure would apply borough-wide.

“There’s still the nuisance clause in there,” Hopkins said.

The mayor is holding informational meetings about Fairbanks’ pollution problem, airborne particulates known as PM2.5. The first informational meeting starts at

5 p.m. today at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. A second meeting takes place at

5 p.m. Wednesday at North Pole Middle School.

Staff from the borough’s air quality division will be available at both meetings, Hopkins said.

“We’re there to answer people’s questions,” he said.

Hopkins’ measure comes after the federal government put Fairbanks on notice to reduce levels of PM2.5 or risk losing federal aid. Studies show wood burning is the No. 1 contributor to PM2.5, which scientists say can cause disease of the heart and lungs.

A copy of the revised ordinance is available on the borough Web site at http://www.co.fairbanks.ak.us.

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