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News Releases from Region 10

State of Alaska and Fairbanks North Star Borough Receive $5 Million EPA Grant to Improve Air Quality in Fairbanks

10/17/2019
Contact Information: 
Bill Dunbar (dunbar.bill@epa.gov)
2065531019

SEATTLE — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $5 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 woodstove change-out program operated by the Borough.

The Borough will use the grant funds to continue a woodstove change-out 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 Borough’s existing woodstove conversion program has removed or converted 464 woodstove or other solid fuel-fired heating devices in the non-attainment area. This grant is estimated to remove or convert an additional 447 devices to liquid fuel appliances or emergency generators

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 $11.5 million to help the state and borough improve air quality.

“The state, the Borough and local leaders are making progress and air quality looks to be improving. 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 bolster the community's efforts to reduce wood smoke pollution and improve air quality in the Borough.”

“The Fairbanks North Star Borough and its residents have been making good progress toward improving air quality and meeting national health standards.  An important part of their success has been the stove change-out program,” said Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune. “This much-needed funding from EPA assures the community will be able to continue replacing older, high polluting woodstoves with cleaner burning sources of heat for their homes and achieve healthier air for all.” 

Borough Mayor Bryce Ward said, “I sincerely appreciate EPA’s attention and willingness to continue the funding for our community’s upgrades to using cleaner burning home heating devices. All borough residents would like cleaner air and this funding directly helps our citizens contribute to the solution in a cost-effective manner. The wood stove change-out program continues to be very popular and will provide real emission reductions.”

Background

More information about the grants: https://www.epa.gov/air-and-radiation/2018-targeted-airshed-grant-recipients.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Northwest Region 10 at: EPA Region 10.

Follow EPA Region on Twitter at: @EPAnorthwest and on Facebook at: @eparegion10.

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