Tag Archives: Wood Energy

Opposition prepares ballot measure against new woodstove rules

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Sunday, June 13, 2010:

A group trying to overturn new wood stove regulations has until June 24 to gather 2,379 qualified signatures to put a question before the Fairbanks North Star Borough voters on Oct. 5.

“We are well under way,” said Rick VanderKolk, treasurer of the North Star Landowners, the group formed to promote the ballot measure. “There’s been a light signature gathering effort by various sponsors of the petition since April.”

The Borough Assembly on Thursday adopted new wood and coal stove restrictions along with chimney smoke emissions standards to combat a harmful pollutant known as PM 2.5.

VanderKolk said he’s already noticed heightened interest in the initiative since the assembly adopted the ordinance.

Supporters of the new regulations hope they help improve air quality, but opponents think they’re too restrictive.

Fairbanks Borough Assembly adopts stricter rules on chimney smoke

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, June 11, 2010:

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly adopted new chimney smoke regulations early Friday in an effort to crack down on air pollution, although the rules are looser than those sought by Mayor Luke Hopkins.

The panel approved the ordinance in a 5-3 vote shortly after midnight after listening to three hours of public testimony and making multiple changes to the mayor’s plan.

One of the changes was to reduce the fines tenfold. In another change, the assembly relaxed chimney smoke emissions standards.

“I think we ended up with a good ordinance that protects the health of the people,” said Assemblywoman Nadine Winters, who supported the measure.

Borough needs nuisance standard, fines to protect health, property values

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Thursday, June 10, 2010:

One of the questions put to borough officials during a forum on wood smoke pollution was this:

“Isn’t there enough existing laws on the books to take care of neighbors with outdoor boilers being rude to their neighbors and not burning the proper material? Don’t you already have that without having to go through all this?”

The long and the short answer is no.

That’s why there has been no action taken against people who have smoked out their neighborhoods on numerous occasions during the past few winters. The borough had about 150 complaints last winter and could do nothing about them except make a record of who called and when.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – entry Borough needs nuisance standard fines to protect health property values

Report: Wood, wind could help meet rural Alaska energy needs

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, May 1, 2010:

Fort Yukon could turn to wood-fired power to ease its reliance on diesel fuel. Tanana could install wind turbines and start using half as much fuel within a few years.

The Alaska Energy Authority published those scenarios and about 200 more, including cost estimates, this week. The report comes less than a month after the Legislature set, as official state policy, the target of using wind turbines, hydroelectric dams and other renewable projects for at least half Alaska’s electricity by 2025.

“This gives you the pathway to get there,” said Steve Haagenson, director of the authority.

The agency released the report, an “energy pathway,” to coincide with a three-day rural energy conference in Fairbanks that ended Thursday.

Click here to read the full story.

Mayor Hopkins revises air quality control plan

From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tuesday, April 13, 2010:

Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins revised his air pollution control plan, adding a provision prohibiting dense chimney smoke that creates a nuisance for neighbors.

Hopkins said Monday that he plans to ask for assembly approval in June.

The measure, Ordinance 2010-17, sets limits on chimney smoke opacity, bans the burning of certain materials and imposes fines on the worst polluters starting late next year. The measure also establishes government programs to help people replace old, dirty stoves.

Click here to read the full story.

Heavy stove smoke could net fines in Fairbanks

From The Associated Press, Saturday, February 20, 2010:

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

Click here to read the full story.

Chimney fire threat grows with wet wood

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Thursday, February 4, 2010:

Check your chimney or have someone else do it.

Charlie Whitaker, who has cleaned chimneys for 25 years, sent me three photos of chimneys he cleaned this week.

During his career in Fairbanks, Whitaker has peered into 10,000 chimneys, but never has he seen a bigger problem with creosote. 

He believes this is largely a function of people burning wet wood and failing to check their chimneys. 

Click here to read the full story. 

Phone survey seeks home heating information

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tuesday, January 26, 2010:

A telephone survey aims to find out how residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough go about heating their homes.

Borough officials want to use the information to help develop a pollution control plan for PM 2.5, tiny particulates known to embed in the lungs and cause health problems. Wood smoke is believed to be the biggest contributor to the PM 2.5 problem.

Click here to read the full story.

More sunlight equals cleaner Fairbanks air

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tuesday, January 19, 2010:

Increasing sunlight has helped improve particulate pollution in Fairbanks, according to borough air quality specialist Jim Conner.

The average particulate pollution level in Fairbanks on Monday was 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air, making the air unhealthy for sensitive groups, Conner said.

Earlier this month, daily averages were reaching nearly 100 micrograms of pollution, which made the air unhealthy for everyone.

What changed?

Conner said weather fronts have been more active and there’s more sunlight. Both help diffuse temperature inversions, when a mass of warm air sits on top of cold air, trapping fine particulate pollution known as PM 2.5, which can embed in the lungs and make people sick.

“When the sun comes up, usually the concentrations (of PM 2.5) drop dramatically,” Conner said. “When the sun goes down, the numbers will go up.”

Click here to read the full story.

Trio of communities might offer insight into Fairbanks’ air pollution problem

From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Sunday, January 17, 2010:

The tiny town of Pinehurst, Idaho, sits in a valley and needed to do something about the pollution being caused by smoke from wood stoves.

So the federal government helped Pinehurst residents buy cleaner-burning wood stoves. The state government asked people to hold back voluntarily on wood burning when the air was dirty. The state also started promoting clean wood-burning practices.

The effort started about two years ago.

The result? The city reduced its air pollution enough to come into compliance with federal standards for the allowable level of microscopic particles known as PM 2.5.

Fairbanks continues to look for a solution to its air quality problem, caused in large part by the burning of wood to heat homes.

Click here to read the full story.