FAIRBANKS — The top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official for the Pacific Northwest is visiting Fairbanks today and will make remarks at a borough air quality conference that runs through Saturday at the Wedgewood Resort Hotel.

This is Chris Hladick’s first visit to Fairbanks since taking over as head of EPA Region 10, which covers Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, almost a year ago. He was previously commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development in the administration of Alaska Gov. Bill Walker.

Hladick, who was appointed by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, will also be meeting with Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Larry Hartig and representatives of Golden Valley Electric Association, according to an EPA spokeswoman based in Seattle. 

Hladick, whose title is regional administrator, plans to visit GVEA’s Healy power plant “to see firsthand the technology upgrades the company is making under Clean Air Act settlement agreements with EPA,” agency spokeswoman Suzanne Skadowski said in an email.

A number of other top air quality officials with both the state and the EPA have been in town this week meeting with borough officials about a new plan to reduce particulate pollution and to attend the Clear the Air: Home Heating Forum and Expo, the borough’s third annual air quality conference.

Tim Hamlin is the EPA’s director of the Office of Air and Waste for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 10. He will also speak at the air pollution conference, which begins at 8 a.m. today.

Dan Brown is the Fairbanks project manager for the Region 10 Office of Air and Waste. Brown is making a presentation at 10:40 a.m. Saturday titled “Moving Forward—The Challenges to Attaining Clean Air.”

Barbara Trost, who is in charge of air quality monitoring for the DEC, will give an update about monitoring at 3 p.m. today, according to the conference agenda.

A panel discussion with borough, DEC and EPA officials will be moderated by the borough mayor at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. 

The conference will also feature members of a stakeholder group, which consists of professionals from different local sectors who have been asked to make recommendations for curbing smoke pollution. A status update about the stakeholder group is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Saturday.

Presentations by members of a group known as the Fairbanks North Star Borough Wood Burners will also take place at the conference. Jesse Shadley will speak at 10 a.m. Saturday. He is also a member of the stakeholders group. 

Wood-burning demonstrations, a video about the health impacts of air pollution and a presentation about chimney scrubbing technology are also on the conference agenda, which can be found on the borough website at www.fnsb.us.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.