Air Pollution Ballot Measure on October Ballot in Fairbanks

Fairbanks borough voters will consider a ballot proposition this fall aimed at reducing fine particulate pollution. Thousands of signatures submitted by citizen’s sponsoring the Healthy Air Protection Act have been certified by the borough clerk’s office, enabling the measure to appear on the October 4 municipal election ballot. Local air quality advocate and initiative sponsor Sylvia Schultz says the measure offers a comprehensive approach to reducing smoke that’s resulted in Fairbanks’ designation as a fine particulate pollution non attainment area by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Schultz says the measure, which also increase fines for violations, targets misuse of wood burning appliances. That’s been an issue since voters passed a ballot proposition last fall that prevents the Borough from banning, or regulating the use of, home heating devices. The vote reflected concern about high heating costs and intrusive government, but Schultz says signature gatherers for the new petition heard a lot of public frustration.

Fairbanks is facing a December 2012 deadline for developing a plan to get into compliance with federal fine particulate pollution standards.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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