State issues first nuisance smoke citation

Posted: Thursday, February 03, 2011

FAIRBANKS — The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued its first nuisance abatement order for a home heating device.

Larry Gilbert, who owns a bar converted into a home in Fairbanks, must limit the use of his outdoor coal-fired boiler based on ambient air conditions, wind direction, wind speed and type of fuel, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

“It’s up to him to figure out a way,” said Moses Coss, DEC supervisor in Fairbanks. “It’s not that the moment he turns it on he’s being a nuisance.”

Now the state will monitor the situation and track complaints. If the owner fails to comply with the order, follow-up action may be taken.

Coss said he could not discuss potential next steps because the case is open.

The building was previously home to the Old Steese Lounge and then the Dog’s Bar.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough passed an air quality plan last summer that fines residents for burning certain prohibited fuels.

The fines, which kick in this fall, include $30 penalties for burning fuels such as tires, wet wood and animal carcasses. The borough recently amended the plan to remove emissions fines, however, in order to comply with a ballot measure passed in the fall by borough voters.

Both borough and state officials have said the amended plan shifts much regulatory power to the state, which typically doesn’t enforce air quality regulations for private homes.

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