Fairbanks considers fines for wood, coal use

Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2010

FAIRBANKS - A proposed new rule in Fairbanks would fine people at least $300 for using wood-and-coal-fired stoves that belch out dense smoke, part of an attempt to curb air pollution in the area.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins is sponsoring the measure, which is a response to federal pressure to bring down pollution levels.

The federal government notified the borough that levels of a fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5 must be brought down by 2014, and that the primary contributor of this particle is wood stoves. PM 2.5 has been linked to health problems.

The measure will now be considered by the borough assembly. The new rule also includes subsidies and tax breaks for people who make improvements for better air quality. The proposal was posted on the borough's Web site Friday. The mayor could not be reached for comment.

"The big thing is just getting people to burn their stoves as efficiently as possible," said Nathan Sapp, a floor manager at The Woodway, a local store that hold free weekly classes on proper wood-burning techniques.

If approved, the new chimney regulations would take effect Sept. 1, 2011. The new rule would affect about 83,000 residents.

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