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Update: DEC added evening hours for a Fairbanks hearing, 5 to 7 pm on Jan 7, 2014. [Way to go commenters!]

New air pollution rules proposed by the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are too weak to protect your health or the economy.

34 comments have been submitted on proposed air pollution regulations for the Fairbanks PM2.5 nonattainment area. Compare with 56 comments submitted by residents of Liberty-Clairton, Pennsylvania on their state plan for PM2.5 attainment. Come ON! We can do better than a community of 1.2 million!

TAKE BACK OUR AIR:
Cut and paste comments on two sections…

First,

The State of Alaska has no limits to prohibit what may be burned in a stove or boiler. People burn anything and everything, with poisonous effects: tires, trash, manure, plastic, animal carcasses, creosote treated wood… it has been burned in Fairbanks and North Pole, Alaska. It is time to establish rules on prohibited fuels. Please amend 18 AAC 50.076 as proposed:

  1. Prohibit burning wood over 20 percent moisture content. Burning wet wood makes excessive smoke.
  2. Prohibit burning any material not intended by a manufacturer for use as a fuel. Burning the wrong fuel in a heating device voids the warranty and can cause explosions and chimney fires, serious safety and liability concerns.
  3. Limits on prohibited fuels are needed statewide to protect health, not just in the seriously polluted Fairbanks PM2.5 nonattainment area.
  4. Prohibit burning any material that when combusted generates noxious, poisonous, or injurious fumes.

[Personalize it — Say how much air pollution has cost YOU financially. What has been burned that has harmed you? Were you hospitalized, did you miss work, were you prescribed medicines? Say so; include the cost.]

PASTE your comment in Form Field #1: https://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/Air/airtoolsweb/FormalComments
IMPORTANT: CHECK the “fiscal impacts” box.
ATTACH supporting documents on how much air pollution has cost you financially. 

Second,
The public hearings on the proposed air pollution rules are scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. These times disadvantage individuals who work during the day.

  • Please extend the hearings to include evening hours of 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

[Personalize it — Say how much it will cost you to take off work to attend.]

PASTE your comment in Form Field #9: https://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/Air/airtoolsweb/FormalComments
IMPORTANT: CHECK the “fiscal impacts” box.

CLICK “Submit Comments” at bottom of form to submit both comments.
The state will email a copy of your comments to you. Please forward a copy to: cleanairfairbanks@gmail.com
FORWARD this message to a friend because we need help to take back our air.

BACKGROUND:

Anyone can comment. Submit as many comments as you want until Jan 23. 2014 deadline.

We’ll be in touch with more comments for you to send to Alaska DEC.

If you prefer to submit all your comments at one time, download, edit, and send Word DOC on this post: Take Action: Comment for Clean Air on Draft State Rules The post also has links to the proposed and current regulations.

CAF Report: Alaska Heating Coal may Violate Manufacturer Fuel Use Requirements

Alaska Coal: “inferior” and may “compromise any insurance claim involving damages”

Will Alaska DEC listen?
If you specify what air pollution has cost you and you check the “fiscal impact” box, DEC must listen. To get their ear, specify dollar amounts (estimates are better than no numbers) and attach supporting documentation. State law requires agencies to “pay special attention to the cost to private persons.” AS 44.62.210.

In memoriam: Maddie Guttenberg, suffered from the smoke, one of us taken too soon.

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Last night, March 24, 2011, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly approved the Air Quality Zones ordinance, 2011-12. The vote was 6 to 2, a surprisingly strong show of support.

A number of people showed up to testify, but the Assembly agenda delayed the public hearing until after 11 pm. The exemption for burning coal was retained, unfortunately. The ordinance took effect the “day following its adoption.” That’s today!

The FDNM covered the outcome in this article “Fairbanks Borough Assembly says no to plan to boost downtown zoning” 3/24/2011. The article noted,

During public testimony, several residents said the air quality zones were a good idea but the exception for coal was not.”
Assemblymembers Joseph Blanchard II, Diane Hutchison, Nadine Winters, Karl Kassel, Mike Musick, and Matt Want voted in favor of the ordinance. Natalie Howard and Michael Dukes voted against the ordinance. Tim Beck was not in attendance.
 
Please send a note of appreciation to these Assembly members:
  
Joseph Blanchard – Presiding Officer – Assembly <jblanchard@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Diane Hutchison – Assembly <dhutchison@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Nadine Winters – Assembly <nwinters@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Karl Kassel – Assembly <kkassel@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Mike Musick – Assembly <mmusick@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Matt Want – Assembly <mwant@co.fairbanks.ak.us>

Please CC or BCC your note to <cleanairfairbanks@gmail.com>.

This ordinance recognizes, for the first time, the need to protect sensitive groups and areas with vulnerable residents from improper burning of prohibited fuels. Its passage is not enough to guarantee protection of vulnerable individuals including children throughout our borough.
 
Parents, grandparents, teachers and other school professionals, nurses, doctors, health care aides, daycare workers, coaches, and affected individuals need to support enforcement of the new Air Quality Zones ordinance by reporting violations to the Borough: <tthompson@fnsb.us> 459-1005 or fax 459-1006. [For how-to information, view Report an Air Pollution Concern, Violation, or Emergency.]
 
The Air Quality Zones ordinance is now Borough code: PM 2.5 Air Quality Control Program 8.21.020 C and the fine schedule 1.04.050. The prohibition against burning wet wood (over 20% moisture content) doesn’t take effect until Sept. 1, 2011, per previous ordinance 2010-28. [See previous post: Over 30 Residents Testify, Wet Wood Retained on Prohibited Fuels List.]
 
For background on the Air Quality Zones ordinance, 2011-12, view previous post: Testify Thurs, March 24 for Air Quality Zones to Assembly. Also read comments submitted by Clean Air Fairbanks to the Assembly on 2011-12. [100KB]

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Attend the Assembly meeting Thursday, March 24 to speak for the Air Quality Zones ordinance during the Public Hearing.

Assemblymembers Diane Hutchison, Nadine Winters, and Joseph Blanchard II introduced the ordinance to protect vulnerable residents attending schools and daycare, medical, and assisted-living facilities from air pollution. The meeting begins at 6 pm and public testimony on the proposed ordinance will be taken sometime after 7 pm.

The Assembly meets in the Borough Chambers, 809 Pioneer Road, Fairbanks. Bring a friend.

On March 15, the Air Pollution Control Commission considered public testimony on the Air Quality Zones ordinance and referred it back to the Assembly 4 to 0 with no changes.

Read comments submitted by Clean Air Fairbanks to the Assembly on 2011-12. [100KB]

Your Testimony: Keep it to 3 minutes. Use your own words. Only you can tell the story about how air pollution is affecting your life and family. Open and close with your request. Thank the Assembly for their continued efforts to protect children, public health, and the economy of our community from air pollution. Please keep it civil.

Ask the Assembly to: 

1) Remove the exception for coal. If any material, including Interior/Healy coal, is not recommended by the manufacturer for use in a heating device, that use constitutes misuse and clearly belongs on the prohibited list.

2) Support the Air Quality Zones ordinance (2011-12), and

3) Seek funding for enforcement because . . .

  • Children and our pioneers are among the most vulnerable to air pollution and cannot be expected to protect themselves;
  • State DEC and education on how to burn properly have failed to protect our most vulnerable residents from air pollution. State inspectors have never found an air quality violation on smoke from local coal or wood burning;
  • Borough enforcement of Air Quality Zones is needed to protect children and our pioneers;
  • If an individual chooses to burn prohibited fuels: warn them once then give them a fine. Anyone who does not burn prohibited fuels will never be fined under this ordinance;
  • Any savings from burning prohibited fuels are far outweighed by the costs of air pollution (medical care, filtration systems, damaged lives, lost business opportunities, etc.);
  • Fines should cover the cost of enforcement. Residents and property taxpayers should not subsidize air pollution or allow it to degrade our community;
  • If our community is to have a future as a place for families, our children must be safe from air pollution.

Links: proposed Air Quality Zones ordinance (2011-12), current ordinance 8.21 PM 2.5 Air Quality Control Program, current 1.04.050 Fine Schedule, March 24, 2011 Assembly meeting agenda, and March 24, 2011 Assembly meeting full agenda packet, pages 77-83 [11.2MB]. Comments submitted by Clean Air Fairbanks to the Assembly on 2011-12. [100KB]

Whether or not you plan to attend, please email comments to . . .

Assembly members:

Joseph Blanchard – Presiding Officer – Assembly <jblanchard@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Tim Beck – Assembly <tbeck@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Michael Dukes – Assembly <mdukes@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Natalie Howard – Assembly <nhoward@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Diane Hutchison – Assembly <dhutchison@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Karl Kassel – Assembly <kkassel@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Mike Musick – Assembly <mmusick@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Matt Want – Assembly <mwant@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Nadine Winters – Assembly <nwinters@co.fairbanks.ak.us>

Please CC your comments to the Mayor and Air Quality Control Program staff:

Mayor Luke Hopkins <mayor@fnsb.us>
Glenn Miller – FNSB Transportation Director <gmiller@co.fairbanks.ak.us>
Dr. Jim Conner – FNSB Air Quality Specialist <jconner@fnsb.us>
Todd Thompson – FNSB Air Quality Program<tthompson@fnsb.us>

Also, please share your comments with <cleanairfairbanks@gmail.com>.

What’s in 2011-12?  The Air Quality Zones ordinance amends the prohibited fuels section of current borough code [Chapter 8.21.020 C]:

1) Adds phrase: “No person shall burn in the nonattainment area or in an Air Quality Zone any of the following items in a solid fuel burning appliance or pellet stove.” [Then lists prohibited fuels as currently prohibited under 8.21.020 C.]

2) Adds subsection: “Material not intended for use by the manufacturers of the appliance or stove, except that coal produced in the Interior/Healy area may be used in a coal stove even if it is not recommended for use by the manufacturer of the stove.” [see amendment request above]

3) Adds subsection: “Any person burning a prohibited fuel listed in this section shall be subject to increased fine(s) as listed in the FNSB Fine schedule if the burning occurs in an Air Quality Zone or in an Air Quality Zone located in the nonattainment area during an Air Quality Alert.

4) Amends fine schedule. Increases fines from $30 to $60 for use of prohibited fuels in an Air Quality Zone. Adds a new fine: $100/day (up to a maximum of $1,000 per alert) for use of prohibited fuels in an Air Quality Zone during an Air Quality Alert. [amends Chapter 1.04.050 Fine Schedule]

Air Quality Zones” are defined to mean the area encompassed within a half mile buffer of the property lines of schools, state licensed daycare facilities, state licensed assisted living facilities and medical facilities. “School” means any property used exclusively for non-profit educational purposes such that it qualifies for a mandatory exemption from municipal taxation. “Medical Facility” means an institution, building, office, or home providing medical services, and includes a hospital, clinic, physician’s office, birthing center, skilled nursing facility, outpatient surgical clinic, intermediate care facility, rehabilitation facility, home health agency, and a facility providing hospice care.

Where does 2011-12 go from here? This is it! As written, the ordinance would take effect the “day following its adoption.”

Support clean air in our community, especially where it is needed by our most vulnerable residents including children and our pioneers. Speak out for clean air!

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Attend the Air Pollution Control Commission Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 pm to speak for the Air Quality Zones ordinance during Public Comments. Assemblymembers Diane Hutchison, Nadine Winters, and Joseph Blanchard II introduced the ordinance to protect schools and daycare, medical, and assisted-living facilities from air pollution.

The meeting will be at Pioneer Park Civic Center (Alaskaland), 2300 Airport Road, Fairbanks. Bring a friend.

Public Comments on the Air Quality Zones ordinance will be heard after the APCC discusses the proposed ordinance. The APCC will make a recommendation to the Mayor on the ordinance, including any amendments.

Your Testimony: Keep it to 3 minutes. Use your own words. Only you can tell the story about how air pollution is affecting your life and family. Open and close with your request. Thank the APCC for their continued efforts to protect children, public health, and the economy of our community from air pollution. Please keep it civil.

Ask the APCC to: 

1) Remove the exception for coal,

2) Support the Air Quality Zones ordinance (2011-12), and

3) Seek funding for enforcement because . . .

  • Children and our pioneers are among the most vulnerable to air pollution and cannot be expected to protect themselves;
  • State DEC and education on how to burn properly have failed to protect our most vulnerable residents from air pollution. State inspectors have never found an air quality violation on smoke from local coal or wood burning;
  • Borough enforcement of Air Quality Zones is needed to protect children and our pioneers;
  • If an individual chooses to burn prohibited fuels: warn them once then give them a fine. Anyone who does not burn prohibited fuels will never be fined under this ordinance;
  • Any savings from burning prohibited fuels are far outweighed by the costs of air pollution (medical care, filtration systems, damaged lives, lost business opportunities, etc.);
  • Fines should cover the cost of enforcement. Residents and property taxpayers should not subsidize air pollution or allow it to degrade our community;
  • If our community is to have a future as a place for families, our children must be safe from air pollution;
  • Request one amendment: remove the exception for coal. If any material, including Interior/Healy coal, is not recommended by the manufacturer for use in a heating device, that use constitutes misuse and clearly belongs on the prohibited list.

Links: proposed Air Quality Zones ordinance (2011-12), current ordinance 8.21 PM 2.5 Air Quality Control Program, current 1.04.050 Fine Schedule, and March 15, 2011 APCC agenda. Listen to the radio story by Dan Bross on APRN “Fairbanks Borough Proposes Increased Fines for Burning Prohibited Fuels” 3/9/2011.

Whether or not you plan to attend, please email comments to:

APCC members:

Charles Machetta – Chair – APCC <machetta@mosquitonet.com>

Lawrence K Duffy – At Large <fflkd@uaf.edu>

L Michael Thomas – At Large <mikethomas@alaska.net>

Nathan Sapp – Solid Fuel Burning Device Expert <nathaninalaska@hotmail.com>

Catherine Frances Cahill – Environmental Scientist <ffcfc@uaf.edu>

Deborah Rinio – At Large <strawberry.birds@gmail.com>

Gwen Holdmann – At Large <gwen.holdmann@alaska.edu>

Please CC your comments to the Mayor and APCC support staff:

Mayor Luke Hopkins <mayor@fnsb.us>

Glenn Miller – FNSB Transportation Director <gmiller@co.fairbanks.ak.us>

Dr Jim Conner – FNSB Air Quality Specialist <jconner@fnsb.us>

Todd Thompson – FNSB Air Quality Program<tthompson@fnsb.us>

Also, please share your comments with <cleanairfairbanks@gmail.com>.

What’s in 2011-12?  The Air Quality Zones ordinance amends the prohibited fuels section of current borough code [Chapter 8.21.020 C]:

1) Adds phrase: “No person shall burn in the nonattainment area or in an Air Quality Zone any of the following items in a solid fuel burning appliance or pellet stove.” [Then lists prohibited fuels as currently prohibited under 8.21.020 C.]

2) Adds subsection: “Material not intended for use by the manufacturers of the appliance or stove, except that coal produced in the Interior/Healy area may be used in a coal stove even if it is not recommended for use by the manufacturer of the stove.” [see amendment request above]

3) Adds subsection: “Any person burning a prohibited fuel listed in this section shall be subject to increased fine(s) as listed in the FNSB Fine schedule if the burning occurs in an Air Quality Zone or in an Air Quality Zone located in the nonattainment area during an Air Quality Alert.

4) Amends fine schedule. Increases fines from $30 to $60 for use of prohibited fuels in an Air Quality Zone. Adds a new fine: $100/day (up to a maximum of $1,000 per alert) for use of prohibited fuels in an Air Quality Zone during an Air Quality Alert. [amends Chapter 1.04.050 Fine Schedule]

Air Quality Zones” are defined to mean the area encompassed within a half mile buffer of the property lines of schools, state licensed daycare facilities, state licensed assisted living facilities and medical facilities. “School” means any property used exclusively for non-profit educational purposes such that it qualifies for a mandatory exemption from municipal taxation. “Medical Facility” means an institution, building, office, or home providing medical services, and includes a hospital, clinic, physician’s office, birthing center, skilled nursing facility, outpatient surgical clinic, intermediate care facility, rehabilitation facility, home health agency, and a facility providing hospice care.

Where does 2011-12 go from here?  The Air Quality Zones ordinance has been referred to the FNSB Assembly’s Committee of the Whole on March 17 (Committee of the Whole meetings are public but no public testimony is taken.) Then, at the March 24 Assembly meeting, there is will likely be a public hearing and vote on the proposed ordinance. As written, the ordinance would take effect the “day following its adoption.”

Support clean air in our community, especially where it is needed by our most vulnerable residents including children and our pioneers. Speak out for clean air!

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Please attend the FNSB Assembly meeting Thursday, Feb 24 at 6 pm to speak for the Air Quality Zones ordinance during Citizen’s Comments. Assemblymembers Diane Hutchison, Nadine Winters, and Joseph Blanchard II introduced the new ordinance to protect “Air Quality Zones” from air pollution.

Citizen’s Comments (on items not for public hearing) start soon after 6 pm. The meeting will be in Borough Chambers, 809 Pioneer Road, Fairbanks.

Points to Make to the Assembly: Keep it to 3 minutes. Use your own words. Only you can tell the story about how air pollution is affecting your life and family. Open and close with your conclusions. Please thank the Assembly for their continued efforts to protect children, public health, and the economy of our community from air pollution.

Ask the Assembly to approve the Air Quality Zones ordinance (2011-12) and support its enforcement because:

  • Children and our pioneers are among the most vulnerable to air pollution;
  • We are unable to count on the State government to protect our most vulnerable residents from air pollution and cannot expect them to protect themselves;
  • The costs of air pollution (including medical care, filtration systems, damaged lives, and lost business opportunities) far outweigh any savings from burning prohibited fuels;
  • As residents and property taxpayers, we should not continue to subsidize air pollution or allow it to degrade our community;
  • If an individual chooses to burn prohibited fuels, it is right to give them a warning and then a fine sufficient to cover the cost of that enforcement. Anyone who does not burn prohibited fuels will never be fined under this ordinance; and
  • If our community is to have a future as a place to raise families, our children must be safe from air pollution.

Request the ordinance be amended to remove the exception for coal. If any fuel is not approved by the device’s manufacturer, we need our Borough to protect our most vulnerable residents from air pollution caused by that misuse.

Links: proposed Air Quality Zones ordinance (2011-12), current ordinance 8.21 PM 2.5 Air Quality Control Program, Feb. 24, 2011 Agenda, and Feb. 24, 2011 Agenda Packet (page 156) [5.21MB].

Written comments: Whether or not you plan to attend, please email comments to all nine Assembly members at assembly@co.fairbanks.ak.us and Mayor Luke Hopkins mayor@fnsb.us. Please CC your comments to cleanairfairbanks@gmail.com.

Background: The new Air Quality Zones ordinance amends the prohibited fuels section of current borough code [8.21.020 C]:

1) Adds phrase: “No person shall burn in the nonattainment area or in an Air Quality Zone any of the following items in a solid fuel burning appliance or pellet stove.” [Then lists prohibited fuels as currently prohibited under 8.21.020 C.] 

2) Adds subsection: “Material not intended for use by the manufacturers of the appliance or stove, except that coal produced in the Interior/Healy area may be used in a coal stove even if it is not recommended for use by the manufacturer of the stove.” [Allows use of a fuel in a device, contrary to the manufacturer’s recommendation; see amendment request above.]

3) Adds subsection: “Any person burning a prohibited fuel listed in this section shall be subject to increased fine(s) as listed in the FNSB Fine schedule if the burning occurs in an Air Quality Zone or in an Air Quality Zone located in the nonattainment area during an Air Quality Alert.

4) Amends fine schedule: Fines are increased from $30 to $60 for use of prohibited fuels in an Air Quality Zone. A new fine is added: $100/day (up to a maximum of $1,000 per alert) for use of prohibited fuels in an Air Quality Zone during an Air Quality Alert.

Air Quality Zones” are defined to mean the area encompassed within a half mile buffer of the property lines of schools, state licensed daycare facilities, state licensed assisted living facilities and medical facilities. “School” means any property used exclusively for non-profit educational purposes such that it qualifies for a mandatory exemption from municipal taxation.

Schedule: The FNSB Assembly will hear Citizen’s Comments Thursday, February 24, 2011. The Air Quality Zones ordinance is on the consent agenda (not for public hearing). The Air Quality Zones ordinance is referred to the Committee of the Whole March 17 and may be referred to the Air Pollution Control Commission. Public testimony will be taken and the Assembly may vote March 24 or in April. As written, the ordinance would take effect the “day following its adoption.”

This is your chance to support clean air in our community especially where it is needed by our most vulnerable residents including our children. Speak out for clean air!

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