—Posted by Matt Buxton, staff writer
The Fairbanks North Star Borough today released a press release detailing the current hold and pending end of the wood stove replacement and removal program.
The release points to Proposition 3, which bars the borough from regulation air pollution from home heating devices in any way, as the cause for the evaluation.
The release reads: “Since all of the above programs are funded by state grants, certain criteria must be measured to show air quality is improving in the borough.”
As we noted in our story on the hold yesterday, the borough is checking with the state to see if a program without any regulation, one where the borough writes a check for people to get a new stove and are unable to prove it’s cleaning the air, would be acceptable.
Here’s the press release in full.
Borough examines future of replacement/removal program
FAIRBANKS (AK) The Fairbanks North Star Borough is in the process of determining the effects of the passage of the October 2 ballot initiative that prohibits the borough from regulating air pollution from home heating devices.
There are currently three different wood stove programs the borough operates. The repair program will reimburse residents up to $750.00 to fix their EPA certified solid fuel burning device. Air quality officials say this program will continue. The repair program is used by about 1-to-2 percent of borough residents who opt to fix their solid fuel devices.
The removal program has been used by about 25-percent of borough residents who participate in the program. This program requires the appliance to be completely removed from the home and delivered to the FNSB for destruction. Then the owner must sign a deed restriction stating no solid fuel burning device will be placed in the home for 10 years. Residents can receive up to $10,000.00 in this program, depending on the criteria of the device(s) they remove from the home.
The replacement program has been the most popular with about 73-percent of overall participants. If residents want to continue burning wood and want to upgrade their solid fuel burning device to a certified unit, they must apply for the program. If approved they will receive up to $2500.00. When they receive their new device they must bring in the old device where it will be destroyed.
Since all of the above programs are funded by state grants, certain criteria must be measured to show air quality is improving in the borough. Once proposition is certified (on October 25) the borough will not have the authority to regulate air pollution from home heating devices in any way.
With some apparent confusion over ending most of the programs, Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins says, “At this time residents can still apply for the replacement program. The last day to do apply for the removal program will be October 19 (this Friday).” (Please note: borough offices will be closed on Thursday October 18 for Alaska Day.) In the meantime the borough is asking the state for a clarification on the grant language.
The repeal of air quality programs will be considered by the Borough Assembly on October 25, and a public hearing on November 8.