EPA proposes OK of Fairbanks air plan, but more steps needed

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to accept a state of Alaska plan for cleaning up the air in Fairbanks.

EPA region 10 air office director Tim Hamlin says the agency is recommending approval of the plan even as it works to reclassify pollution violations in Fairbanks as serious rather than moderate.

Reclassification would require a new plan with stronger cleanup provisions.

Hamlin says federal law requires a decision on the current plan but more needs to be done for Fairbanks to attain clean air.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough in winter regularly exceeds federal standards for fine particulate. The pollutant causes heart attacks, decreased lung function and premature death.

The EPA says the primary sources of particulate are wood stoves and wood heaters used to warm homes.

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