Update 11/22/2013: If Fairbanks is classified as “serious,” the attainment date with all possible extensions will be 2024, not 2020 as originally stated. The post below has been corrected. Thank you to our alert reader for catching the error. When health has no voice or value, delay is here to stay.
How is it “good news” that the State may further delay filing the PM2.5 attainment pla
The shifting deadline is good news because missing the deadline could come with serious sanctions against the state. The federal government could yank highway funds and impose sanctions on any new power plants built in areas that don’t meet the EPA’s clean air standards.” Cindy Heil with Alaska DEC Air Quality Division explained the delay in finalizing the state attainment plan was because DEC expected the deadline to slip. According to Ms Heil, “We’re looking to meet this one.” Alaska gets a break on late air quality plan FDNM 11/20/2013.
Isn’t it a human tragedy wrapped in incompetence rolled up with denial?
Or, is it business as usual and just another dirty air day in Fairbanks and North Pole?
>> Link: ADEC Air Quality Advisory Fairbanks North Pole area UNHEALTHY for SENSITIVE GROUPS becoming UNHEALTHY valid Nov 19 4:00PM to Nov 22 2013 4:00PM
For the day so far at 2:00 pm, the Watershed School monitor in Fairbanks recorded a PM2.5 average of 47 micrograms/cubic meter and the North Pole Fire Station recorded 89. For now, downtown Fairbanks is an oasis of better air. 30 was recorded at the downtown FNSB Administrative Building, the only site tracked by EPA. Nonattainment is over 35 micrograms/cubic meter for a 24-hour average.
EPA’s proposed extension risks the health and lives of people with asthma and COPD, heart disease and atrial fibrillation, diabetics, elders, children, developing fetuses, even healthy adults and athletes. We oppose this unnecessary, bureaucratic delay that abandons an entire community with no regard to health consequences.
New Deadlines under Proposed SIP Extension
If finalized, the State Implementation Plan (SIP) will be due Dec. 31, 2014. Eight areas (including Fairbanks) in five states are affected.
The attainment deadline would be Dec 14, 2015, rather than Dec 14, 2014. Attainment is determined from the three-year average of design values for 2012, 2013, 2014 of 35 or below. [By comparison, the 2010-2012 average for Fairbanks was 46. Only two areas in the nation, San Joaquin, CA and Logan, UT, recorded higher values during the same period.] Design value readings are taken every third day by the FNSB Administrative Building monitor in downtown Fairbanks and do not include higher concentrations recorded in North Pole or at the Watershed School.
The proposed rulemaking establishes all eight areas as “moderate.” EPA may reclassify areas as “serious” in two ways: 1) 18 months after a state misses the Dec 31, 2014 SIP deadline or 2) 6 months after a state misses the Dec 14, 2015 attainment deadline.
“Moderate” areas may be eligible for two extensions of no longer than one year each if “the State has complied with all requirements and commitments pertaining to the area in the applicable implementation plan; and there is not more than one exceedance of the 24-hour standard during the preceding year.” 42 USC § 7513(d). Therefore, the attainment date for “moderate” areas with all possible extensions would be 2017.
Areas classified “serious” get more time to meet attainment. The attainment date for Fairbanks would become Dec 14, 2019 if so designated.
Further, “serious” areas may get up to five years of extensions if certain conditions are met including “the State demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Administrator that the plan for that area includes the most stringent measures that are included in the implementation plan of any State or are achieved in practice in any State, and can feasibly be implemented in the area.” 42 USC § 7513(e). Therefore, the attainment date for “serious” areas with all possible extensions would be 2024.
>> Link to Federal Register notice, public comment period ends 12/23/2013: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/21/2013-27992/identification-of-nonattainment-classification-and-deadlines-for-submission-of-state-implementation
EPA Scraps Implementation Guidance for 2006 PM 2.5 Rule
How EPA’s Design Values Exclude Air Pollution Days
Fairbanks Air: More Dangerous Than You Think – Wickersham’s Conscience