Fairbanks needs 4 more years to meet clean-air standards

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Fairbanks needs 4 more years to meet clean-air standards

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:14 pm

State says Fairbanks needs 4 more years to meet federal clean-air standards
Dermot Cole
November 17, 2014

The Fairbanks area will miss a federal deadline by four years and need until 2019 to clean up its polluted air, according to a proposed state air quality plan released Monday, a day on which wood smoke in the area of North Pole created "unhealthy" air quality conditions.

The air in the Fairbanks area was classified as "unhealthy for sensitive groups," meaning children, the elderly and those with respiratory or heart disease were advised to restrict their activities.

In both Fairbanks and North Pole, elevated levels of small particles have been a consistent winter problem on calm days -- exacerbated by the thousands of people who have taken to burning wood in response to high heating oil prices.

The 211-page state plan does not call for a ban on wood stoves. It says that burning dry wood, switching to cleaner stoves and an increase in the use of natural gas for heat will all help clean the air, but four years will be needed to reach federal clean air standards.

The burning of painted wood, plastic, animal carcasses, garbage, tires and other materials would be prohibited. The regulations would allow people to burn dry wood and wood pellets. Limits on smoke, similar to those that exist in other states, would apply to wood and coal stoves during air quality advisories.

DEC does not have the authority under state law to write tickets or issue fines. Instead, if someone refused to take steps to burn cleanly over a period of time, "the department staff may use additional administrative enforcement tools, such as nuisance abatement orders, to address the concern."

The so-called State Implementation Plan is required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which is under orders from Congress to set and enforce air quality standards. The plan is now available for public comment and hearings are set for Fairbanks in early December, after which it is to be submitted to the EPA for review.

Under the law, by not showing a plan to fix the Fairbanks-area pollution problem by 2015, the community is set to be reclassified from "moderate" to the "serious" category.

The designation as serious means more measures would be forthcoming. For instance, the state would require wood sellers to register and provide "moisture content information" to consumers instead of simply running a voluntary program.

This would encourage consumers to "make appropriate decisions about seasoning their wood and planning ahead for when it would be ready for use in their wood heater," the plan says.

Dry wood produces less pollution and creates about 25 percent more heat than wet wood, the plan says.

A second change that would come with the serious designation would be a requirement that high-polluting wood stoves would have to be replaced after a home is sold.

The state plan calls for a variety of voluntary measures as well as new regulations, some of which were revised following hearings early this year. The documents says that it would be impractical to meet the 2015 clean-air deadline.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Larry Hartig said the goal is to allow people to use wood heat while taking steps to improve air quality.

Particles less than 2.5 micrometers can cause some of the worst danger to people as they are inhaled deep into the lungs and remain lodged there, with some directly entering the bloodstream. The federal standard sets a limit of 35 micrograms per cubic meter over a 24-hour period. In North Pole, the 24-hour average Monday was 87 micrograms per cubic meter.

source
http://www.adn.com/article/20141117/sta ... -standards
• 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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