State of Alaska and Fairbanks North Star Borough receive $14.7 Million EPA grant to improve air quality
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $14.7 million in Targeted Airshed Grant funding to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to help the Fairbanks North Star Borough improve air quality. Grant funds will be used to reduce harmful fine particle air pollution from wood smoke through a program that includes woodstove change-outs, outreach and other efforts by the Borough.
The Borough will use the grant funds to continue a woodstove changeout and conversion program focused on converting more wood burning appliances to cleaner burning liquid or gas-fueled heating appliances, which have a very low output of particulate pollution and higher fuel efficiency. Wood smoke contributes up to 60 to 80 percent of fine particle pollution levels measured in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The Alaska DEC will also leverage technologies and enhance compliance resources including infrared cameras, new highway message signs, and annual winter season compliance surveys to measure effectiveness.
“The state, local leaders and the community are making progress and air quality is improving. We know there is still work to do to get to healthier air, and if we all keep working together, we’ll get there,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick. “This round of EPA’s Targeted Airshed Grant funding will further boost the community's efforts to reduce wood smoke pollution and improve air quality in the Borough.”
“We appreciate the EPA’s financial support as we work with residents, stakeholders, and the Borough to combat the root cause of nonattainment—air pollution from wood stoves,” said Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune. “Through appropriate wood stove replacement realized through this grant and our continued cooperative efforts outlined in our State Implementation Plan, we look forward to reaching attainment by 2024.”
“The Targeted Air Shed Grant award will give our community a fighting chance to come into compliance with the EPA PM2.5 air quality standards. The funding will allow us to continue to provide the wood stove change out program and manage vendor capacity to complete the woodstove exchanges,” said Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Bryce J. Ward.
EPA’s Targeted Airshed Grants are used to support local clean air projects in areas facing the highest levels of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), commonly known as smog and soot. In the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress funded the grants at $40 million to reduce air pollution in nonattainment areas that the EPA determined were the five most polluted areas relative to ozone, annual PM2.5, or 24-hour PM2.5 standards. Since the grant program’s inception in 2017, the EPA has provided $26.2 million to help the state and borough improve air quality in Fairbanks.
Learn more about the Targeted Airshed Grant and other EPA air quality grants at: epa.gov/grants/air-grants-and-funding.