Obama’s Parting Gift: EPA to fine Alaskans who Burn Wood to Stay Warm

Watts Up With That?

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Guest essay by Eric Worrall

As Alaskan winter temperatures drop below -30F, the EPA is considering fining and prosecuting entire towns for breaching clean air laws, because of smoke from residential fireplaces.

Alaskans’ Cost of Staying Warm: A Thick Coat of Dirty Air

“That guy has got an old stove, right there,” Dr. Jeanne Olson, a veterinarian and air quality volunteer, said on a recent afternoon, pointing from the cab of her four-wheel-drive Toyota toward a spiraling column of thick gray smoke from a homeowner’s chimney. The thermometer inside Dr. Olson’s cab said it was 30 below zero outside, which meant that lots of people in the vicinity were probably putting another log on the fire, or thinking about it, even as she spoke.

But here in one of the coldest parts of the coldest state, there is an only-in-Alaska pollution story: At about minus 20 Fahrenheit…

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