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State considers plans for remote subdivision at Wien Lake

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Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012 12:15 am

FAIRBANKS — The state is reviewing plans for a proposed sale of as many as 100 parcels at Wien Lake, which is 107 miles southwest of Fairbanks and 67 miles west of Nenana.

The parcels would range from two acres to 40 acres, with a total of 700 acres in the proposed subdivision.

There is an “unauthorized airstrip” at the northeast edge of the area and while the plan is not to improve the airstrip, the plan could provide for the future development of an airstrip nearby.

The sale could be part of a future state land auction, if approved.

The main access in the summer is by floatplane and by planes with skis in the winter.

The land was conveyed to the state in 1982 and the University of Alaska had a quitclaim deed for a couple of years before it went back to the state.

The subdivision was proposed in 1985 in the Tanana Basin Area Plan and the state offered remote parcels in 2008. Twelve parcels were created along the shores of Wien Lake and six appear to be in state ownership now, the Department of Natural Resources said.

About 18 percent of the Wien Lake shoreline is in private hands now and 15 percent more could transfer with the proposed subdivision.

The DNR comment period is open until Jan. 8. Comments can be sent by fax to 451-2751 or by email to subdivision.sales@alaska.gov.

If you have questions, call Tom Beaucage at

451-2730 or Tim Shilling at 451-2734.

•••

POLLUTION LEVELS: While the particulate pollution levels in North Pole and Fairbanks were higher than any reported in the rest of the country last week, at times conditions described as “unhealthy for sensitive groups” in Fairbanks and North Pole would have been termed “very unhealthy” in the Lower 48.

For instance, at 2 p.m. Saturday, the North Pole level was reported as 170 micrograms per cubic meter. The borough said that was “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

A national reporting program through which pollution levels of more than 500 cities are tabulated treats the exact same reading as “very unhealthy,” if it continues at that level for 24 hours.

The borough reporting system does not follow the national pattern. But it should.

The borough includes this disclaimer, “When calculating Air Quality Index Level on Near-Real-Time Data, the average PM2.5 for a one-hour time frame is used. Since the EPA doesn’t have index levels for the average one-hour time frame, the levels indicated on this web page are calculated as if the one hour average PM2.5 were the peak value in an average 24 hour period with normally distributed emissions.”

The problem is that the hourly reports are not necessarily the daily peak levels.

While it is true that EPA does not have a one-hour standard, it is also true that cities across the country are reporting the one-hour figures and making a statement about air quality and health based on 24-hour exposure at that level.

I have asked borough officials and state officials to address this problem and adopt the reporting system that is in use in the rest of the nation.

With the stagnant and cold air conditions last week, the current system is downplaying just how unhealthy the air is.

Dermot Cole can be reached at cole@newsminer.com or 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter at FDNM@dermot.

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