EPA has finally agreed to address the worst spikes of fine particulate matter in the country
The US EPA recently published a notice that it is reclassifying Fairbanks as a “serious” non-attainment area for air pollution. This long-overdue action triggers requirements for the state to adopt the strictest measures possible to address Fairbanks’ years-long pollution problems and bring the area into compliance with national air quality standards.
EPA’s action comes as a result of a pending lawsuit by Fairbanks residents to enforce EPA’s statutory responsibilities after the agency missed three deadlines in three years.
Fairbanks North Star Borough has the works spikes in fine particulate matter air pollution in the nation, exceeding the limit for healthy air by 350%. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air causes a wide range of serious health problems, including asthma, chronic respiratory disease, cardiopulmonary disease, cancer, and premature death. PM 2.5 is particularly dangerous to children, elders, and those with chronic disease.
Citizens for Clean Air (CCA), ACAT, and the Sierra Club filed the complaint with a federal district court. CCA, a volunteer organization of Fairbanks residents, is a program of ACAT. The plaintiffs are represented by Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm.
Find the press release here.