State Starts to Step Up, Local Effort Recognized as Weak
January 29, 2011 by fbxkindling
According to a FDNM article, Alaska DEC Commissioner Larry Hartig has indicated that “the state could get more active after moves in November (sic) by Fairbanks voters and Thursday by the Borough Assembly to strip enforcement factors from pollution-prevention programs.” [Prop A passed in October 2010, rather than November.]
Read the FDNM article: Fairbanks’ air quality prompts state concerns 1/29/2011. A similar article was distributed by the AP and ran in the Anchorage Daily News: “Fairbanks’ pollution levels could hinder federal money: State could lose funding for roads over wood-burning stoves” 1/30/2011. Consider adding your comments to the articles.
The FDNM article linked to the State of Alaska Epidemiology bulletin on the association between PM 2.5 and Fairbanks hospital admissions 8/30/2010. You may also be interested in the State of Alaska Department of Health and Human Services fact sheet on the 8/2010 bulletin.
The state has been closely watching actions here in our Borough. According to the article, the state Division of Air Quality lists “Fairbanks’ pollution problem as one of two major challenges it faces this year. The other is new, federally mandated regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.”
Further, Commissioner Hartig stated, when a neighborly effort falls short, his department could issue “a notice of violation” in advance of a lawsuit. “We haven’t done that yet” for air pollution in Fairbanks, he said. “But we are getting complaints.”
Clean Air Fairbanks believes education on proper wood burning practices is a good idea. Yet, if the smoke continues, enforcement is necessary. In our schools children are given TAG referrals when their behavior goes out-of-bounds. Is it too much “control” to give TAG referrals to smoky polluters? It just seems a tad lax to merely record the complaints and educate the smoky polluters, while the smoke continues harming our children and our schools.
A 3rd grade teacher testified during the Jan. 27, 2011 Assembly public hearing, ‘We had a fire drill this week. The children were out in the playground (waiting to go back inside) and asked “Is it real?”‘ Woodsmoke was in the playground again.
If you are experiencing problems with smoke, visit our Report Smoke Pollution post to see how to report it to the appropriate authorities. Clean Air Fairbanks encourages smoke-impacted residents to step-up our own efforts to report smoke problems and help make breathing safe in our community.