Most people never even had a chance to see the latest draft of the Air Quality ordinance submitted by Mayor Luke Hopkins to the Air Pollution Control Commission. The latest draft appeared on the Borough’s website about noon, Monday, Dec. 27, 2010 just before the APCC that evening. Shortly afterwards, maybe even that night, the post was gone. We saved the link: Mayor’s Draft of AQ Ordinance, Dec. 27, 2010. Also, it is here in this Borough AQ website announcement for the APCC hearing.
At the hearing that night, the APCC voted 6-0, with no changes, to approve the draft ordinance and forward it to the Assembly. We’ll share why we’re hugely disappointed. But first, the Assembly’s turn at bat is coming right up.
The FNSB Assembly will give the latest draft a first reading on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. See their version (same as approved by the APCC) here: 2011-03, draft version 1/13/2011. It has been referred to the Committee of the Whole on Jan. 20, 2011 and will be considered Jan. 27, 2011 for public hearing. Draft ordinance 2011-03 is buried in the Agenda Packet for the 1/13/2011 Assembly meeting on pages 148-154. There’s a link to 2011-03 in the Agenda for 1/13/2011 meeting. [Earlier the link to 2011-03 didn’t work, but today, 1/13/2011, it does!]
On Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, the FNSB Assembly will listen to Citizen’s Comments on items not scheduled for public hearing. The meeting starts at 6 pm, and Citizen’s Comments are at the beginning of the Agenda. This is your chance to testify (3 minute limit) on the latest AQ draft. You may also email all nine Assembly members at email@example.com or visit the FNSB’s Assembly page to contact them individually. Be advised: if the message is on an agenda item, the Borough Clerk will forward it to the entire Assembly.
For background, review the current local Air Quality Ordinance 2010-28 (approved 6/10/2010).
Since you know the draft ordinance was forwarded to the Assembly unchanged, the rest of this part of the story lacks drama but doesn’t lack pathos.
The FDNM covered the outcome of the meeting, “Fairbanks borough pollution plan goes before assembly for final touches” 12/29/2010.
APCC Chairman Charles Machetta said, “It’s a pretty toothless document. The sentiment of the commission is, we hated the document, we hated what happened with Proposition A (the ballot measure) and our hands are completely tied.”
Anticipating the Assembly will follow his lead on punting on the third down, Mayor Luke Hopkins said, “Now enforcement falls to the state and could end up being tougher than local control would have been.”
As well it must, as local control can be more targeted and cost-efficient, and any State-run air pollution control program will have to pay for itself in fees and fines.
Here’s what the Mayor’s Draft of AQ Ordinance, Dec. 27, 2010 guts out of our current Air Quality Ordinance. Along with some minor reworking of definitions, it replaces mandatory emission standards with voluntary advisements, deletes the 50% opacity standard (8.21.020), deletes PM 2.5 Emissions Crossing Property Lines (8.21.020), and removes all enforcement mechanics (no fines, etc.).
As if that weren’t enough damage, this nearly useless draft allows two items to make a jail break off the prohibited fuels list : 1) wood over 20% moisture and 2) glossy or colored papers, while retaining the 13 other too-nasty-to-burn items. The most common hoodlum is, of course, wet wood that when burned makes rivers and even lakes of smoke in our valleys. Every item on the original list makes noxious and deadly fumes when burned and should be prohibited:
1. Any wood that does not meet the definition of clean wood and after September 1, 2011, has more than 20% moisture content,
4. Materials containing plastic or rubber,
5. Waste petroleum products,
6. Paints and paint thinners,
8. Glossy or colored papers,
9. Construction and demolition debris,
12. Saltwater driftwood,
14. Animal carcasses, and
15. Asphalt products.
If these bad boys came calling on your daughter, you’d bar the door!
Thank you to the many residents who submitted personal testimony and the diligent individuals who have reported smoke complaints. Each effort documents the ordeal you’re enduring, building a compelling public record of the need for action. It is past time you were heard.