Air Plan Deadline Extension Draws Critics (audio) Alaska Public Radio News, 12/4/2013
We ask: Why is EPA helping the State of Alaska delay clean air for Fairbanks?
There’s pushback on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed extension of time for states to develop plans to reduce fine particulate pollution. Clean air advocates are opposed to potential delay in improving air quality in communities suffering with air pollution like Fairbanks.
A January ruling in a suit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council requires the EPA enforce smoke regulations under more a stringent part of the Clean Air Act. Last month, the agency proposed giving states more time, until Dec. 14, 2014, to get attainment plans in.
Earthjustice attorney Colin O’Brien: ‘They’ve looked at a court decision–which said EPA you’re doing this wrong, the deadline is supposed to be earlier not later–and EPA has responded by giving an extension of time.’
The State of Alaska failed to meet the original deadline 2012 and is working to get a plan for cleaning up Fairbanks’ air in by next summer.
Plans won’t be going into place until just prior to EPA pollution reduction threshholds which take effect in 2015.
O’Brien: ‘It’s hard to imagine that the attainment deadline will actually be met.’ O’Brien adds there’s a lot at risk: ‘The health and welfare in those communities like Fairbanks where the air pollution levels are dangerous.’