We’ve heard and felt discouragement after another terrible winter of smoke with still no action. In some areas, the smoke continues even as the snow begins to melt away.
Smoke was just beginning to appear on individual legislators’ radars, but Governor Sean Parnell’s oil tax cut proposal focused their attention. $2 billion a year one way or the other is hard to ignore. The oil tax measure is now bogging down the State Senate. With 11 days remaining before adjourning the 90-day session for the year and only two bills approved, it’s easy to poke fun at our legislators for not getting more accomplished. The Anchorage Daily News article Legislature passes two bills in first 78 days of the session 4/6/2011 was picked up across the nation.
Make smoke hard to ignore. Chat with their staff. Send them a note.
- Ask for clear, effective rules AND enforcement. The State House members voted out the oil tax bill and should take time now to rise to address the clear need to protect our children and the economic viability of the state’s second largest community. Without enforcement to support effective rules, some will keep emitting injurious smoke into the air we all share as if it were a sacred and protected civil liberty. The rising price of fuel will bring rising levels of smoke unless enforcement is initiated.
- Everything but enforcement has been tried. Burn-wise education, funding for voluntary stove removals and change-outs, tall chimneys, local control, public testimony, energy efficiency, and reporting smoke pollution have been tried. Air quality has still grown worse every year since 2007. While bringing abundant, affordable natural gas to the Interior may help reduce PM 2.5, the soonest is two years and does nothing to stop air polluters.
- Specifically, ask them to empower inspectors with the Department of Environmental Conservation and public safety officers with the ability to write citations or tickets to smoke violators. The state has no authority to issue tickets for trashing the air. Ticketing authority can put a prompt stop to hazardous smoke emissions but requires a change in state law. Only the Legislature can make this basic reform.
- Tell them it is unacceptable to leave off Fairbanks nonattainment area air quality control until January 2012 when the Legislature reconvenes. Our chronically elevated air pollution is not a nuisance like a barking dog, it is an unaddressed public health need. Fine particulate (PM 2.5) concentrations during our regular bad winter days are the highest in the nation and constitute an uncontrolled assault on public health, safety, and welfare.
- Ask them to stop the smoke before they adjourn for the year April 17th.
Please phone your own legislators today. Follow-up with an email to the entire Interior delegation, mention that you also called. No one else can speak for your right to breathe clean air.
Interior Legislative Delegation
State Senate D: Senator Joe Thomas (D) 800-336-7383
State Senate E: Senator Joe Paskvan (D) 877-665-3709
State Senate F: Senator John B Coghill (R) 877-465-3719
State House 7: Rep Bob Miller (D) 866-465-4976
State House 8: Rep David Guttenberg (D) 800-928-4457
State House 9: Rep Scott Kawasaki (D) 866-465-3466
State House 10: Rep Steve Thompson (R) 877-465-3004
State House 11: Rep Tammie Wilson (R) 800-860-4797
Please share a copy of your message with cleanairfairbanks@gmail on your CC or BCC list.
Not sure who your Senator or Representative is? View the State of Alaska’s Division of Election Maps.