- Associated Press - Saturday, October 7, 2017

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Voters will get to decide if they want to prohibit the Fairbanks North Star Borough from regulating heating appliances and combustible fuels after a petition initiative received the required number of signatures to get on the city’s ballot next year.

While the group of Alaska residents who are pushing to roll back rules on air pollution missed the deadline to put the initiative on this year’s ballot, they gathered the required 1,872 signatures to get the Home Heating Reclamation Act on the October 2018 ballot, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/2y7V0SQ ).

Borough leaders, who have been fine-tuning the local air quality program, adopted tougher rules earlier this year. The borough reduced the air pollution threshold that triggers a burn ban on wood and coals.

People who want to burn during an air alert must prove an economic hardship in order to receive a waiver. The alerts are called when the air is stagnant and smoke stays on the ground level.

The new rules were approved after pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which reclassified the borough from a “moderate” to a “serious” nonattainment area.

Borough leaders have said that prohibiting the local regulations would turn the responsibility over to the state.

Supporters of the initiative have said the new rules are troublesome for a sub-Arctic city that needs heat.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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