2011 Oct. 13: AK Fairbanks: EPA’s eyes stay on Fairbanks after Proposition 2 failure, Part 1

2011 Oct. 13: AK Fairbanks: COMMENTS on EPA’s eyes stay on Fairbanks after Proposition 2 failure Part 1
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
The proposition would have banned wood-fired hydronic heaters and coal appliances in the borough’s core populated area and created fines for violating smoke
Federal environmental regulators (…) aren’t backing off demands for mandatory limits to reduce smoke emissions, a spokesman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said this week.

Fairbanks North Star Borough voters’ rejected Proposition 2, known as the Healthy Air Protection Act, in the Oct. 4 election. The proposition would have banned wood-fired hydronic heaters and coal appliances in the borough’s core populated area and created fines for violating smoke standards.

The EPA has given Alaska until 2014 to get the Fairbanks and North Pole metro area, known as the non-attainment area, to meet federal air quality standards. But if the state can’t produce a viable plan because of political opposition, it could lose millions in federal highway funding and could be the target of strict federal regulations.

The EPA keeps close tabs on the political developments to determine the state’s credibility, said EPA spokeswoman Marianne Holsman in Seattle. (…) the discussion sparked by the measure was worthwhile.

“We are encouraged that Proposition 2 helped raise awareness of this issue and that the citizens of Fairbanks are engaging in the debate about how to improve air quality,” Holsman said.

But that doesn’t mean the EPA is about to give the state extra slack when it comes to air quality.

According to EPA rules, that plan will need to include enforceable regulations, such as emissions standards and fines for polluters.

That leaves borough and state leaders with a call for action; they’ll need to figure out some form of regulations before late next year or else risk losing millions in federal highway funds if the EPA rejects the plan. But that’s difficult for the borough, because a 2010 voter-passed initiative bars the borough from banning or prohibiting the use of heating devices and from fining residents for doing so, until at least October 2012.

The state could impose its own regulations, but it doesn’t have any power beyond taking polluters to court, an expensive and slow process.

One option for the Borough Assembly would be to pass its own set of regulations that wouldn’t go into effect until after the 2010 rules run out. If the assembly was to go down such a route — which is still unclear — it would have the advantage of bringing more voices to the discussion to compromise on a palatable set of regulations, said Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins.

Moving ahead, Hopkins said the administration has scheduled a handful of informational meetings with the assembly to outline the EPA’s rules and the borough’s options. The first of such meetings is scheduled for the Nov. 3 work session.


Proposition 2 and the future of Alaska | 11 days ago by Matt Buxton / mbuxton@newsminer.comFairbanks Daily News MinerCopyright 2011 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. All rights reserved.


« 2cold wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 02:57 PM »
There was no link….

just quotes from a very few studies done that show the link between PM 2.5 and negative health affects.

Here’s a local person’s webpage with Accurate/Scientific information they found on their own:

When ‘people’ on the radio say that there is no scientific evidence on woodsmoke being a source of PM 2.5 or that PM 2.5 is ‘just dust'(Tammy Wilson) one has to attribute that to one of two things; ignorance/stupidity or some sort of political agenda they are protecting by knowingly lying or spinning facts to suit their agenda.


« BullMooseParty wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 01:28 PM »
Collectively, we are a moron, proven again by referendum. Must be a lot of teabags under the sand. Well, at least we can all rail against the evil Feds when we lose highway funds, as a collective moron.

« rationalcitizen wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 01:16 PM »

What you you going to do when the EPA roles into town, get up on your rock like Braveheart, and proclaim you want “freedom” to continue spoiling your own nest.

Trust me, you won’t be so fondly remembered like past giants of history.


« 3rdGenerationFairbanks wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 01:01 PM »
Well lets all just watch the Feds come to Fairbanks in 2012 and lay down the law on reduced federal funding for hiways. I suppose the feds could also recomend that the winter air is bad for the soldiers at both miltary bases and recomend minimal funding there also.

We have been pushing the limits of air quality for a long time, the wood burners have just pushed us over the limit.

We have UAF / Fairbanks / Wainwright and Eielson all burning coal in there power plants. We have Alyeska and all other contractors idleing there trucks and equipment 10,12 or 24 hours a day. Everybody burning diesel fuel to heat there homes. Plus the huge increase of outside wood boilers and woodstoves that folks are heating there homes with.

We might as well put a going out of business sign on the Richardson and Parks hiway because that is what is happening……

« 2cold wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 12:50 PM »
Journal of Hazardous Materials

Volume 192, Issue 2, 30 August 2011, Pages 425-431.

A review of diseases associated with household air pollution due to the use of biomass fuels

Ki-Hyun Kim, Shamin Ara Jahan, Ehsanul Kabir

The authors discuss the background for their review: “Nearly one third of the world’s population use biomass fuels such as coal, wood, animal dung, and crop residues as their primary source of domestic energy. Due to their incomplete combustion, a multitude of pollutants associated with high levels of indoor air pollution (IAP) are released which include suspended particulate matter (SPM), carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), etc.”

According to the authors, “There is a line of evidence that exposure to those pollutants can lead to increased risk of diseases including respiratory infections (e.g., pneumonia, tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and asthma), low birth weight, cataracts, and cardiovascular events. It is one of the major global public health threats that require greater efforts for prevention through research and policy-making. This review summarizes the available information on potential health risks associated with biomass fuel use.”

Topics discussed in the review include respiratory diseases (upper and lower respiratory tract infections, chronic obstructive lung disease, tuberculosis, lung cancer, and asthma) and non-respiratory diseases (low birth weight and infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and nasopharyngeal and laryngeal cancer) associated with biomass smoke exposure.


« 2cold wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 12:50 PM »
Continued from below:

According to Shaw, “There [in the alveoli] the lungs employ a different kind of cleaning agent: macrophages, large white blood cells that eat foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses by engulfing them, encasing them in an intracellular stomach, and then injecting bleach-like chemicals into the container. The invader dies, degrades, and is reabsorbed by the body along with the macrophage itself. In the case of bacteria and viruses, ‘If we didn’t have these macro­phages, we’d all be coming down with fatal lung infections,’ Brain says. Macrophages also attack and attempt to degrade fine particles, but can be overwhelmed when there is ‘too much dust or too much smoke.’ Then the macrophages spill some of their weapons in what Brain terms ‘biological friendly fire. For example, smoke causes emphysema, which is destruction of lung tissue. But smoke doesn’t do it directly; it is the body’s powerful protective mechanisms that destroy the lungs.’”

« 2cold wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 12:48 PM »
Clearing the Air: How Epidemiology, Engineering, and Experiment Finger Fine Particles as Airborne Killers

Jonathan Shaw

In his article, Mr. Shaw notes, “we breathe 50 to 60 pounds of air a day – and that makes them [our lungs] particularly vulnerable to airborne incursions of gases and fine particles.” Mr. Shaw quotes Rick Rodgers, a senior research scientist at Harvard School of Public Health, as saying “‘Most large particles deposit in your nose.’” According to Shaw, “Airborne particles larger than pm2.5 are removed in the upper and middle airways… but fine particles reach the alveoli [the tiny air sacs in the lungs], where there is no mucus lining (which would impair gas exchange).”

Shaw’s article discusses how the lungs attempt to deal with invading agents and how they can be overwhelmed. In this section, Shaw quotes Joseph Brain, Director of the Harvard School of Public Health and Drinker professor of environmental physiology. According to Shaw, “There [in the alveoli] the lung

« 2cold wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 12:46 PM »
Fine Consequences: Clean Air, Longer Life

Jonathan Shaw

Shaw writes, “Clean or dirty, like it or not, every day you breathe in 20,000 liters of air; you can’t decide when to do it. But research has shown that the cleaner the air you breathe, the longer you will live.”

Harvard Magazine, May-June 2005


The 10 Most Air-Polluted Cities in the U.S.

Bryan Walsh

According to author Bryan Walsh, “The World Health Organization has ranked cities around the world on their amount of particulate pollution in the air.” This ranking shows “the dirtiest of the dirty in the U.S.”

In this list, Fairbanks ties with Visalia-Porterville, California; Hilo, Hawaii; and Modesto, California for the 4th-7th place slots for most air-polluted cities in the United States. Walsh says, “In Fairbanks, meanwhile, local air pollution is worsened by the use of outdoor wood-fired boilers called hydronic heaters.


« polarmark wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 12:41 PM »
we have to stand up to these bullies or they will be kicking our cans all the way down the road forever. sometimes you just have to say no, no matter what the cost.

« rationalcitizen wrote on Thursday, Oct 13 at 11:07 AM »
“”the largest contributors to PM 2.5 are coal-fired electrical generation plans and diesel-fired furnaces and boilers”

Interesting math you have there. They did a chemical analysis of the air in Fairbanks during winter and found that 70-80% of the pollution was woodsmoke.”

Anybody with half a brain on their shoulders knows which type of fuel is releasing more particulate matter. Just look at the crap a campfire puts off versus a gas stove. Sigh.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – EPA’s eyes stay on Fairbanks after Proposition 2 failure

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