Fairbanks violates federal air quality standard, looking for solutions

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Fairbanks has violated the federal air quality standard, and now community stakeholders are looking for solutions. Friday at UAF, 30 to 40 people discussed the current air issue, and then brainstormed ideas. They're trying to achieve a consensus by narrowing down suggestions to find the one that is cost effective and practical for the largest number of people.
They say wood stoves are the biggest contributors to poor air quality and PM 2.5, which are tiny particles that are harmful to your health. Finding an optimal solution to this problem could put Fairbanks within federal regulations, and up the quality of life for Alaskans.
The bulk of the money for this reform is coming from the federal government, to the state, and then to the borough. One idea they have is to provide electric heat, at a reduced cost, to people who have wood stoves during a burn ban. But that's just one solution they're considering.
"We've talked about a wide range of things and I think it's going well. I'd say that we haven't found the magic bullet yet. There's still a lot of discussion about different things. But there are a lot of good ideas that are bubbling up and people are talking about developing a sense of what's acceptable to each other. You know, some people are more willing to do curtailment programs; other people want more voluntary things. And so we're kind of understanding what those constraints are," said John Davies, the chair of the working group.
Notes from this meeting will be posted on the Fairbanks North Star Borough website.