Air quality still contentious

 

Late Tuesday, as part of a continuing series of meetings, officials with the Fairbanks North Star Borough explained the health impacts of air pollution

As News Center 11's Darryl Lewis reports below, both sides of the issue were on hand at the Watershed Charter School to air their differences.

IT'S A BATTLE THAT'S DIVIDED A COMMUNITY, AND NOW IT'S COME TO THIS....MEETINGS CENTERED AROUND THE INTERIOR'S WINTER TIME AIR POLLUTION WOES, AND THE FAIRBANKS NORTH STAR BOROUGH CAUGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FRAY.

TUESDAY NIGHT, IT WAS THE SECOND IN A SERIES OF MEETINGS ON THE CONTENTIOUS ISSUE.

Concerned citizen Carrie Dershin said it's "frustrating in that we have air that my kids are breathing that is not healthy for them. It's frustrating that we're all subjected to unclean air at times of high inversions, and that's frustrating. Yet, at the same time, I love Fairbanks, so I want this to be a better place for all of us.

JUST DAYS BEFORE A FEDERAL DEADLINE FOR THE STATE TO PROVE IT CAN REMEDY THE SITUATION, BOROUGH MAYOR LUKE HOPKINS SAYS HE APPRECIATES THE CONCERNS OF BOTH SIDES.

Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins said "The community...no just the government, not just any particular group, but we all can participate in a plan that hopefully we can hear what's going on with air quality. We can become informed by it, and at that point, we can voluntarily consider an option of how to improve the air quality when we have poor...poor conditions meaning low temperatures, strong inversions, and therefore, that's when we build up on the particulates.

Those on the other side were also in attendance, preferably State Representative Tammie Wilson.

Wilson says had the Fairbanks North Star Borough done their duty in the first place, these meetings would not be necessary.

Wilson said "The State put money forward, and right now it's not being utilized. If it was being utilized, the people could see these changes next door, and see how clean burning some of these units are, we wouldn't be having this fight today."

HOWEVER, THE BOROUGH'S PROPOSAL, AND WHAT MANY FEEL TO BE LITTLE OR NO STATE ATTENTION TO ENFORCEMENT, HAS MANY, INCLUDING WOODRIVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PTA MEMBER DAWN BRASHEAR, FRUSTRATED.

She said " We've been expressing our distress through the system, for several years now. Four years."

BRASHEAR AND OTHERS HAVE TAKEN THEIR CONCERNS ALL THE WAY TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. WE SPOKE WITH HIM ABOUT THE DILEMMA LAST WEEK.

Parnell Said "You know, people are suffering from that air, but when it's 40 below zero, you got to heat your home.  And I get that too."

NOW MORE MEETINGS ARE SCHEDULED ADDRESSING THE SITUATION AND WHAT CAN BE DONE.

AND WE'LL KEEP YOU POSTED.