Fairbanks Air Quality Plan
On September 15, 2021, the EPA Region 10 Regional Administrator signed a notice finalizing approval of parts of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by Alaska to address Clean Air Act requirements for the Fairbanks North Star Borough PM2.5 nonattainment area (Fairbanks PM2.5 Nonattainment Area).
The planning requirements addressed in this notice include the base year emissions inventory and the PM2.5 precursor demonstration. Alaska made this submission on December 13, 2019, to address Serious area nonattainment plan requirements.
EPA is also finalizing approval of rule revisions and an associated air quality control plan chapter submitted by Alaska into the federally-approved SIP. These include:
- Emission standards for solid fuel-fired heating devices.
- Requirements for wood sellers.
- Certification standards for solid fuel-fired heating devices.
- Limits on sulfur content of fuel oil.
- Provisions for coal-fired heating devices.
- Adopting air quality definitions.
- Revising the solid fuel heating device PM2.5 curtailment thresholds under the emergency episode plan.
Although EPA is finalizing its determination that these updated rules meet basic Clean Air Act requirements and strengthen the SIP, EPA has yet to determine whether the new rules meet the Clean Air Act requirements specific to Serious nonattainment areas. Alaska submitted these rule revisions and control plan chapter on October 25, 2018, November 28, 2018, December 13, 2019, and December 15, 2020.
EPA received 19 public comments on the proposal, primarily related to Alaska’s woodstove device standards for the Fairbanks PM2.5 Nonattainment Area. In the final rule, EPA determined that comments do not change our proposed determination that the regulations submitted by Alaska are consistent with Clean Air Act requirements and strengthen the SIP. Therefore, we are finalizing our action as proposed.
EPA will act on other portions of the Fairbanks nonattainment plan, and associated SIP revisions, at a later date.
The final rule and other information are available at: Federal Register: Air Plan Approval; AK, Fairbanks North Star Borough; 2006 24-hour PM2.5.
Additional information on the 2006 PM2.5 nonattainment areas is available on the EPA Green Book.
- On October 17, 2006, EPA strengthened the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS to 35 micrograms per cubic meter. On November 13, 2009, EPA designated a portion of the Fairbanks North Star Borough as nonattainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, requiring Alaska to prepare and submit an attainment plan to meet the NAAQS.
- On May 10, 2017, EPA reclassified the Fairbanks nonattainment area from Moderate to Serious, requiring the state to submit a Serious area attainment plan.
- Alaska submitted the Serious area attainment plan on December 13, 2019. On January 9, 2020, EPA issued a Completeness Determination, a public notice stating that Alaska has submitted an administratively complete State Implementation Plan.
- At the time Alaska submitted the Serious area attainment plan (December 13, 2019), the outer-most attainment date for the area was December 31, 2019. On September 2, 2020, EPA issued a determination that the Fairbanks PM2.5 Nonattainment Area failed to attain by the Serious area attainment date and denied an extension of the Serious attainment date.
- EPA’s September 2, 2020, action triggered additional planning requirements for the Fairbanks PM2.5 Nonattainment Area under Clean Air Act section 189(d) (i.e., 5% Plan). Alaska submitted the 5% Plan on December 15, 2020, and it is currently under review at EPA.
Numerous scientific studies have linked exposure to fine particulates — approximately 1/30th the size of a human hair — with serious human health problems, including:
- Premature death in people with heart and lung disease.
- Other serious events such as nonfatal heart attacks.
- Increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits by those with respiratory ailments and cardiovascular disease.
For more information, contact Matthew Jentgen (firstname.lastname@example.org), 206-553-0340.