tougher rules banning wood burning for North Pole area

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tougher rules banning wood burning for North Pole area

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:32 am

Air quality alert for North Pole area; first under tougher rules banning wood burning

By Amanda Bohman, abohman@newsminer.com Nov 20, 2017 Updated Nov 21, 2017 (…)

FAIRBANKS—The first air quality alert this winter was issued Monday by the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

The Stage 1 alert, under which burning firewood and coal are prohibited without a waiver, was issued for North Pole, according to the Air Quality Division website.

"People should utilize their cleaner source of heat," said Nick Czarnecki, manager of the borough's Air Quality Division.

Conditions at the time of the alert showed the air quality index in North Pole was "unhealthy for sensitive groups."

The Stage 1 alert is in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday and applies to neighborhoods on the east side of Badger Road to the city of North Pole and beyond.

High levels of harmful PM2.5, or fine particulate pollution, prompted the alert. Most affected are young people, older people, and people with heart and lung illnesses, who are encouraged to avoid prolonged exertion.

The air in Fairbanks was "moderate," according to data from monitors posted around the borough whose readings are published on the municipal website.

New, tougher rules are in place this winter in an ongoing effort to reduce levels of PM2.5, a byproduct of wood smoke that has been linked with heart and lung illnesses in multiple scientific studies.

Previously, actions called for in a Stage 1 alert were voluntary. Now they are mandatory. Violators get one warning and risk a $500 fine, though only one person has been cited by the borough for allegedly violating an air quality ordinance.

The air pollution season comes later this year than last year when North Pole experienced its first burn ban in October.

Czarnecki said the weather has been favorable for air dispersion. Smoke pollution is typically a problem when the air is stagnant.

"It hasn't been stagnant," he said. "Hopefully, this will break up before Thanksgiving. We are supposed to have some precipitation."

"It's all weather driven," he added.

For more information, call 459-1234 or go to http://www.aqfairbanks.com.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.

source
http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_new ... 33a67.html
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New smoke pollution rules make it harder to ignore burn bans

Amanda Bohman, abohman@newsminer.com Jun 20, 2017 (…)

FAIRBANKS — Want to burn wood or coal when the air is bad? You’ll need a waiver under new rules adopted Monday by the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly.

That goes for people even if they have a newer-model stove and they are burning dry wood. The fine for burning without a waiver is $100.

To get a waiver, burners will have to prove their stoves are approved, their wood is stored properly and they know how to burn cleanly, according to the package of new rules proposed by Borough Mayor Karl Kassel, amended by the assembly and approved in a 7-2 vote.

“Things are going to have to get more mandatory as we move forward,” Borough Assemblyman John Davies said.

Assemblymen Lance Roberts and Guy Sattley were opposed to the new rules.

“Registration isn’t helping us solve the problem. This is paperwork,” Roberts said.

Previously, burners who knew they had good stoves and dry wood could more or less ignore burn bans so long as their chimneys weren’t puffing out too much smoke.

This winter, only those with a waiver will be allowed to burn during a Stage 1 ban.

During a Stage 2 burn ban, no wood or coal burning will be allowed in the Air Quality Control Zone, which encompasses large portions of Fairbanks and North Pole along with the Badger Road area.

Kassel said the stricter rules will make air quality enforcement easier.

“Either you have a permit to be burning or you don’t. It’s pretty cut and dry,” he said.

The measure is in response to a reclassification of Fairbanks and North Pole from a “moderate” smoke pollution nonattainment area to a “serious” one.

The borough is under pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce smoke pollution on winter days when the air is stagnant.

Public testimony was mixed.

“What we are doing is putting regulation on regulation on regulation. That is not a smart way to do things,” said Kent Severns, owner of The Woodway and a member of the borough Air Pollution Control Commission.

He said registering wood stoves and government employees making judgment calls on how people store their wood — “It starts to get egregious.”

He called on the borough to — instead of making new rules — enforce the rules in place.

Others encouraged the assembly to do something about the smoke pollution.

“This is about our health and safety. It’s not about regulations that are coming down on us as a community,” Joan Franz said.

Also under the new rules, those participating in the wood stove changeout program will need to have their new devices professionally installed.

The ordinance additionally puts new requirements on those seeking a waiver from air quality rules due to economic hardship. They will need to show proof.

Builders seeking to put a stove in a new house will need to obtain a $375 permit starting in 2018.

Assemblyman Van Lawrence said it’s time to put a higher value on human health than on “cheap heat.”

Kassel called the new rules a step in the right direction and added that he anticipates the EPA will call for even stricter rules down the road.

“It’s not that I am in favor of hammering people,” the mayor said, “but when people are burning wrong, I don’t have a problem with holding them accountable for that.”

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.

source
http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_new ... bcc41.html
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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Re: tougher rules banning wood burning for North Pole area

Postby Wilberforce » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:14 pm

Season's first widespread burn ban announced in Fairbanks, North Pole

Amanda Bohman, abohman@newsminer.com Nov 28, 2017 Updated Dec 1, 2017

FAIRBANKS — Excessive PM2.5 pollution triggered air quality alerts in both Fairbanks and North Pole on Tuesday.

The alerts call on residents to stop burning wood and coal unless a waiver has been obtained.

This is the first blanket burn ban for the city of Fairbanks under the tougher new rules in place this winter in an ongoing effort by the Fairbanks North Star Borough to curb smoke pollution.

The air in Fairbanks was classified as moderate under the Air Quality Index on Tuesday. Under the moderate air classification, people sensitive to pollution are encouraged to reduce prolonged exertion, according to the Air Quality Division website.

The air in North Pole was categorized as unhealthy under the Air Quality Index, meaning the PM2.5 pollution is so high as to impact the general population.

Fairbanks was put on a Stage 1 alert — the least restrictive of the two types of air alerts — under which residents with one of two types of waivers can keep burning wood or coal in their stove. All others must stop feeding their stove under local law.

The Stage 2 burn ban in North Pole is stricter. The only residents allowed to keep burning are those with a NOASH waiver, meaning No Other Adequate Source of Heat.

Air Quality Manager Nick Czarnecki said people with no other way to stay warm but with wood or coal should call the borough for help.

“Don’t stop using your device if your house is going to get cold,” he said. “We will just keep working through the situation.”

High levels of PM2.5 have been linked with heart and lung illnesses in multiple scientific studies, prompting the federal limits on the particulate.

PM2.5, a byproduct of wood smoke and other emissions, tends to settle in the Tanana Valley on cold winter days when the air is stagnant.

The forecast is for stagnant air for the next few days and the air alerts are in place until 5 p.m. on Thursday unless weather conditions change, according to Czarnecki.

“They are forecasting poor dispersion up until we get the snow that will clear it out on Thursday,” he said.

Burn bans in North Pole, where a monitor has observed some of the highest PM2.5 levels in the country, are nothing unusual.

Last winter, Fairbanks experienced nine partial burn bans under which residents with modern stoves were allowed to keep burning.

The burn bans are in effect in the borough’s Air Quality Control Zone, which encompasses large portions of Fairbanks and North Pole along with the Badger Road area in between the two cities.

The first burn ban of this winter was called last week in North Pole, which had a Stage 1 air alert. The current Stage 2 alert is the first Stage 2 alert for the city.

Borough air quality staff along with staff with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are watching chimney pipes so the borough can contact suspected violators of the burn bans, according to Czarnecki.

Last week, the borough issued warning letters to 25 suspected violations of the burn ban in North Pole. Czarnecki said more warning letters will go out to those suspected of violating this week’s burn bans.

Some of the letter recipients last week called the borough.

“I think most of the responses were, ‘OK, I understand what is going on. I won’t be burning anymore,’” Czarnecki said. “There were also some folks who weren’t entirely happy with the situation.”

Those who didn’t respond to the letter are likely to get a call from Borough Mayor Karl Kassel or a member of his staff, according to Czarnecki.

Those suspected of a second offense are subject to a $500 fine, though only one person has been cited on suspicion of violating local air quality rules.

More than 100 people so far have signed up for waivers from the Stage 1 air alerts, according to the air quality manager. He said residents in the Air Quality Control Zone can file for a Stage 1 waiver by going to the Air Quality Division website at http://www.aqfairbanks.com.

The process involves providing photographic evidence that the resident’s stove is certified and that their wood is properly stored. Those seeking the waiver must also watch a video about proper burning and take a quiz. The video and quiz reportedly take less than an hour to complete.

Czarnecki said the air quality office has been receiving complaints about suspected violators of air quality rules on a daily basis. He said the goal of his division of to help residents burn more cleanly.

“As long as you are making progress to come into compliance with the regulations, we are not going to pursue any of these citations or warning letters,” he said. “We don’t ever want to hand out a citations. That is kind of a lose-lose for both parties. We want the air to get cleaner.”

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.

source
http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_ne ... 56c2a.html
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
User avatar
Wilberforce
 
Posts: 6021
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: USA


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