Environmental officials, borough hold special air quality meeting

Published: Apr. 4, 2018 at 6:33 PM AKDT
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At a special work session with the Borough Assembly last night, members of the Department of Environmental Conservation presented their preliminary air quality draft documents to the assembly, elected officials, and community members.

With a large turnout of local representatives, the unprecedented meeting with the DEC aimed to engage the community to work towards finding creative solutions to reach attainment.

The DEC is requesting a list of possible control measures from the community by May 23.

Borough Mayor Karl Kassel is working to create a stakeholder group to discuss possible solutions.

Cindy Heil, a program manager with the DEC air quality division, explained how residents are going to have to make a trade-off in order for the borough to reach attainment, while Mayor Kassel talked about possible benefits of the stakeholder group.

Cindy Heil; Program Manager, DEC Air Quality Division>>: "It's a complicated issue. You're balancing health with the cost to heat your home, and there is going to be trade-offs. What are those trade-offs going to be, what are people willing to live with, that's really hard to talk about, because people are very passionate about those issues. Being able to get it to a level where they can try to solve that, is going to be really tough. It's not going to be easy."

Mayor Karl Kassel; Fairbanks North Star Borough>>: "We have a lot of topics to discuss, and now I am going to be putting together a stakeholders group to try to make some official comments back to the state DEC in time for the final draft of this plan and also to beef up our position with the EPA to show them that we are engaged as a community and we have been thoughtful about this, and we've come up with some creative ideas for how we can do better than the rubber stamp from the federal government. It tends to not fit our community very well, and I think we can do better, so I am going to do my best to get that organized."