Better air, finally, for Woodriver. For real this time.
What changed? The Straughns stopped operating their two outdoor wood boilers.
Why did they stop?
Was it the court order, the preliminary injunction signed by Judge Robert Downes February 4?
Click on the maps and zoom in on Woodriver Elementary School to see close-ups BEFORE the OWBs stopped smoking.
Or did they stop because of publicity on the court order?
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story ran February 14, 2013: Court order shuts down wood boilers by Woodriver.
Poof, the smoke was gone.
Give credit where credit’s due. Thank you, FDNM. Thank you, DEC. Thank you, FNSB sniffer vehicle!
Woodriver Elementary is in the clear, even when other areas are hot with air pollution. See the AFTER maps below.
Whatever it was, we’re grateful the Straughns finally got the message.
Do you catch yourself wondering if they feel a burden of responsibility for the harm? Harm from smoke that caused asthma attacks in children who came to school to learn. Harm from smoke that forced teachers to arm themselves with inhalers. Harm from smoke that hazarded a newborn beginning a life, sent mothers into invasive surgery, kept workers from their jobs, prevented neighbors from enjoying their yards, and risked treasured elders gone too soon.
First complaint to last smoke plume (Aug 20, 2008 to Feb 13, 2013):
1,639 days of smoke
4 years, 5 months, 25 days
What we now know:
- Stopping the source of smoke fixes the problem in a single day.
- Healthy air for Woodriver makes a compelling case for enforcement. Urgent action is needed to save more neighborhoods in Fairbanks and North Pole.
- The sniffer vehicle maps pinpoint smoke sources.
Woodriver Background: The two hydronic heaters were installed outside two rental duplexes directly across the street from Woodriver Elementary in 2008. Over the years, the owners were encouraged, including by State Representative Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole), to take steps to reduce the smoke. Nothing worked: taller chimneys, drier wood, and installation of two ClearStak CS-100 electric retrofit catalysts. The catalysts retail for $2,395 each but were provided and maintained for free through a state grant orchestrated by Rep Wilson. According to ClearStak, the patented “intelligent” CS-100 “virtually eliminates the nuisance of smoke generated by OWBs.” The owners were offered $7,500 for each from the Borough’s hydronic heater removal program, but didn’t reply. On Jan 3, 2013, the state filed a civil case against the owners, Andrew and Gloria Straughn.
>> Link to smoke maps: Fairbanks North Star Borough “sniffer” vehicle maps, current