From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Wednesday, December 29, 2010:
An air pollution plan that has so far taken more than a year to push through for the Fairbanks North Star Borough will no longer carry any fines or enforcement power if a revised version is approved next month.
Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins revised the air quality ordinance to comply with a ballot measure passed in October banning the borough from regulating home heating devices. The proposed ordinance will go before the Borough Assembly for first reading Jan. 13.
“We had an air quality plan passed. We barely entered winter, to see if it would have an effect on the large emissions we have in our airshed, when voters said ‘No thanks’ in October,” Hopkins said.
Now enforcement falls to the state and could end up being tougher than local control would have been, Hopkins said.
An advisory panel unanimously approved the updated plan Monday, but only because it had no choice, said Charles Machetta, chairman of the Air Pollution Control Commission. The updated version reduces a mandatory program based on hard limits and penalties to a voluntary program based on education and expert assistance.
“It’s a pretty toothless document,” Machetta said. “The sentiment of the commission is, we hated the document, we hated what happened with Proposition A (the ballot measure) and our hands are completely tied.”
The revised plan also transfers enforcement power to the state, which abides by similar air quality regulations and could enforce compliance through civil action rather than fines.
Continue reading: Fairbanks borough pollution plan goes before assembly for final touches