The deadline for PM 2.5 nonattainment is December 2014 but under certain conditions extensions may postpone the deadline to 2019.
To qualify for an extension, the state must “demonstrate that all local control measures that are reasonably available and technically feasible for the area are currently being implemented to bring about expeditious attainment of the standard by the alternative attainment date for the area.” (bold added, Federal Register 72, page 20601)
In Fairbanks, PM 2.5 levels have worsened each year since the winter of 2007/2008. During the winter of 2010/2011, the downtown Fairbanks monitor (675 7th Ave) recorded 37 days at or over 35.5 micrograms/cubic meter. 35 µg/m3 is the state and federal standard for 24-hour average of PM 2.5.
A few heavy smoke emitters produce harmful smoke without limit or consequence. Smoke pollution turns neighborhoods and schools into PM 2.5 hot zones. Regardless of the extent of harm to health, no control measures or enforcement action have been taken. The boldest move was to take tax dollars from the local education budget to install a $44,000 air filtration system at one smoke-harmed school. Previous post: Don’t Wait for another Asthma Attack at Woodriver. Continued reports from that school indicate filtration has not been effective in preventing harm to health inside that school.
Installing a filter doesn’t qualify as a control measure. Voluntary measures do not qualify as control measures. Some will argue against every control meaure as not “reasonably available” or “technically feasible” and will beg EPA for an extension. Good luck with that.
There’s no getting around control measures to reduce the heavy winter smoke. It is just a question of what level of government applies the controls, how long the bad air will drag on, and how severe the consequences will be.
Link: Federal Register final rule Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation, effective 4/25/2007, Volume 72, page 20601
Link: FDNM article Proposition 2 and the future of Alaska 10/2/2011