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


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 — a fairly regular occurrence here in winter — smoke that goes up comes right back down, to linger at ground level and, therefore, lung level. The average from 2013 to 2015 for dangerous small-particle pollution, called PM 2.5, which can be deeply inhaled into the lungs, was by far the highest in the nation in North Pole, just southeast of Fairbanks, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

“It’s all one thing — when you most need the heat is when you’re most apt to create a serious air pollution problem for yourself and the people in your community,” said Tim Hamlin, the director of the office of air and waste at the E.P.A.’s Region 10, which includes Alaska.

And forces are now converging to heighten the tension in this seemingly unlikely pollution story. Civil fines by Fairbanks North Star Borough — which includes the cities of Fairbanks and North Pole, with a total population of about 100,000 — could be assessed in coming days against residential polluters. The E.P.A. could declare the entire area to be in “serious” noncompliance of the Clean Air Act early next year, with potentially huge economic implications, including a cutoff of federal transportation funds.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/25/us/alaskans-cost-of-staying-warm-a-thick-coat-of-dirty-air.html

Let me see if I have got this right – if you try to escape President Obama’s skyrocketing energy prices by burning wood stay warm, on the very coldest winter nights you risk being fined by mobile EPA air quality inspectors.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 4, 2017 8:45 am

He can’t leave soon enough…….PM 2.5 is a ridiculous case as as well. You’re only allowed to stay warm from the heat reflected by solar panels in Obama’s world.

Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 9:16 am

Doesn’t work too well in most of Alaska.

Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 9:28 am

Hey, it takes someone born in Hawaii, to understand how to live in -30 deg conditions , right?

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 9:46 am

The ultimate in CRAZY
Burning Biomass (Wood) is good for the environment but burning WOOD is BAD
The insanity is palpable

Adam Gallon
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 2:19 pm

Someone born in Kenya, don’t you mean? 😉

Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 2:50 pm

They burn a lot of wood in Kenya.
“The energy sector in Kenya is largely dominated by petroleum and electricity, with wood fuel providing the basic energy needs of the rural communities, urban poor, and the informal sector. An analysis of the national energy shows heavy dependency on wood fuel and other biomass that account for 68% of the total energy consumption “

Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 3:53 pm

In my mind is Curly Howard (Jerry Horowitz) saying “oh! Fine for hunting! Here’s the spot!”

Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 4:32 pm

… from firsthand experience, the energy sector in Kenya is largely dominated by cowpaties … what remains of the trees is a frightening.

Clif westin
Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 9:33 am

Difficulty: Northern Alaska. Winter. No sun for 6 months. But! You can get a subsidy on your solar panel.

Reply to  Clif westin
January 4, 2017 11:35 am

That’s only true for the northern most 10% of the state. Or there abouts. (PS, it’s only about 3 months of the year at the pole. 3 months of 24 hour sun and the other 6 months transitioning from one extreme to the other.)
As you go south from the pole, the length of time for total night or total day decreases until you reach to polar circle.

Will Nelson
Reply to  Clif westin
January 4, 2017 1:33 pm

MarkW – I’m not understanding your meaning. Neglecting atmospheric refraction it IS 6 months sun and 6 months no sun at the axis pole, or in other words, one sunrise and one sunset per year at that location.
The arctic circle (polar circle?) is a line on the ground that is tangent to an earth-sun line. On this line during the northern summer solstice the sun sets to 0 degrees elevation, and during the winter solstice it rises to 0 degrees elevation. Just for fun, I have lived in places that had more days than sunrises :). And with not the slightest bit of irony a forecast such as, “Cloudy today, mostly sunny tonight”.

Reply to  Clif westin
January 5, 2017 2:35 am

Will Nelson, how long does it take the sun to set in between the 6 month rise and fall? 3 months? So, technically there is still light during the rise and fall so 3 full sun, 3 rise, 3 fall equals nine months w/sunshine.
or are you suggesting transition is only hours long?

Reply to  Clif westin
January 5, 2017 4:48 am

Clif westin
January 4, 2017 at 9:33 am
“Difficulty: Northern Alaska. Winter. No sun for 6 months. But! You can get a subsidy on your solar panel.”
No big problem. Germany has the same average sunshine hours as Alaska… You just have to be a true believer…

Reply to  Clif westin
January 5, 2017 8:11 am

Johannes: Reminds me of the two guys whose average height was six feet, standing in a swimming pool that was six feet deep. The 5’10” guy drowned, the 6’2″ guy surivived. Summer sun is no help in wintertime in Alaska.

Will Nelson
Reply to  Clif westin
January 5, 2017 5:09 pm

ironargonaut – maybe this helps:
At the pole, from sunrise the sun climbs for 3 months to 23.5 deg elevation, then descends for 3 months and sets. Naturally, before rise and after set there is twilight but the sun itself is below the horizon for 6 months.

Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 9:46 am

This policy is consistant with UN Agenda 21 and 2030. The aim is to get people away from pristine “natural areas” and concentrate them into city apartments and the like. The land can then largely return to its natural “sustainable” state.
https://thedemiseofchristchurch.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/unitednations-conference-on-human-settlements_habitat1.pdf Check page 8. The highlights are mine.
People are starting to wake up. This is a typical example.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
January 4, 2017 4:06 pm

We who own a few acres of nature are perfectly capable of maintaining its pristine nature. Education is the key; State govts assist, along with funds for eradication of invasives.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
January 4, 2017 6:11 pm

“After NWO takeover”
Oh, dear. With those sort of buzzwords, I guess the NWO only applies to certain things, doesn’t it?

Rhoda R
Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 11:11 am

How much time do people in Alaska spend outside when the temps drop to -20 or more? How many would be affected even if the PM 2.5 was valid?

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Rhoda R
January 4, 2017 12:27 pm

Bingo. I don’t expect the NYT to make the connection, though.

Carbon BIgfoot
Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 11:17 am

EPA has testified in Federal Court that they violated Nuremberg Protocols by conducting illegal human experimentation by exposing test subjects to 40X legal exposure limits of diesel exhaust. Junk Science– click on the Features Button to get the full story.

M Seward
Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 12:15 pm

This lunacy just underscores the level of detachment from humanity that these ecocrats are afflcted with. I can only conclude that these creeps, these ecobots, have had some sort of empathectomy or equivalent procedure.

Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 1:40 pm

Defund the EPA. Failing that, start shooting EPA inspectors in critical life and death situations such as -30 temps.

Reply to  pyeatte
January 4, 2017 11:19 pm

There’s a much simpler solution. Force EPA inspectors to take a dose of their own medicine. Limit them to environmentally-friendly vehicles such as bicycles.

NW sage
Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 5:52 pm

Last I heard PM 2.5 studies are inconclusive about the supposed risks of medical issues of any kind from so called exposure to these VERY small particles [ref studies about diesel exhaust]. The difficulty is that particles this CANNOT be reliably measured or determinations made about what they are. If you cannot measure quantities accurately OR determine what the particles are made of how can you possibly ascribe bad effects to those things?

Reply to  NW sage
January 5, 2017 10:49 am

It gets better. I have trouble getting it on Search but saw a note that higher heat of formation from increased combustion temperatures in diesel leads to more toxic i.e. carcinogenic particles….just fewer of them. I recall squaddies coughing their heads off in tank shops from diesel exhaust – but they didn’t worry about long term effects. Another sweetheart deal is fining of people clearing firebreaks in fire prone areas. Problem offending carbon sequestration, you see. Never mind what happens when everything burns to the ground.

January 4, 2017 8:46 am

is there a way to get this guy to live there and to practice what he preaches?

January 4, 2017 8:46 am

Was her gas guzzler running as she was sitting around pointing out smoke stacks?

Reply to  LoganSix
January 4, 2017 9:31 am

Typical ignorant comment of eco-zealots. The most likely cause of visible output from a wood stove is that it’s just been lit or it’s been given damp wood.
There is no way to say it’s an “old stove” just by looking at the chimney from a few hundred yards away.

Reply to  Greg
January 4, 2017 9:44 am

Correct. And this Wisconsin farmer stores his firewood indoors for a year to season so never damp. And damp wood can be binned around the fire to dry before being fed to the fire.

Hereticus Maximus
Reply to  Greg
January 4, 2017 11:18 am

When wood is cut for heating purposes dry standing dead wood is usually preferred. The alternative to converting these trees into CO2 is to let them naturally decompose into CH4 (methane) which we are told is an even more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. But it’s even worse than that.
While pre-industrial CO2 levels have increased just under 50%, CH4 levels have more than doubled from 715 ppbv pre-industrial to 1,800 ppbv today. Any global warming scientist worth his salt knows that the continual doubling of CH4 will eventually lead to explosive (LEL) atmospheric levels where a small spark somewhere could end all life on earth.
You would think that they would be handing out awards to these Alaskan ecological warriors.

Reply to  Greg
January 4, 2017 6:58 pm

I think they dislike wood-burning because it makes people independent. I raised five children on a low income, never going on welfare, paying very little for heat, by heating my home in a very cold climate with four wood stoves, cutting my own wood and gathering wood others didn’t want on my job (as a landscaper).
“Old” wood stoves only smoke when you are first starting them up in the morning, if the wood you are using is damp or green. If you use bone-dry wood the “problem” is largely non-existent.
Fire is burning smoke. Therefore any smoke coming out of your chimney is unburned-fire. If you are forced to be thrifty you find a way to make as much smoke burn as possible.
Also, in very cold conditions, where the smoke moves up the chimney from the warm house to the frigid outside, the inner wall of the chimney abruptly is colder, and any smoke will condense there as a glassy sort of creosote build-up that can slow your fire’s draw and even cause a chimney fire. As it is a darn nuisance to clean a chimney, even the most lazy of bitter-clingers will seek to make his fire burn clean, simply to avoid the onerous task of climbing up on the roof with a sweeper’s wire brush.
There is an art to burning a smokeless fire, and back in the day (in New England) your life might depend on it, because your enemy would looking for smoke, to see where you were camping. This art was handed down through generations, and one can use this art in an “old” stove.
This is not to deny the fact there are “new” wood stoves that are amazing. They take Ben Franklin’s idea of an afterburner and run with it. Only when you first start them does anything but a waver of heat emerge from the chimney, (and, in very cold temperatures, a cloud of steam.)
Our soon-to-be-former president has displayed a dislike for American ingenuity and independence from day
one. He seemingly is afraid of people being self-reliant and independent and free, and I expected him to outlaw cutting your own wood and feeding your own fire from the day he was inaugurated.
He can’t exit the stage fast enough for me.

Reply to  Greg
January 4, 2017 7:42 pm

Actually certain gases are caught in PM2.5 such as water vapor. Also sea salt, SO4, and VOCs. Most PM2.5 is natural.

Reply to  LoganSix
January 4, 2017 9:33 am


Reply to  LoganSix
January 4, 2017 4:44 pm

And … what type of EPA compliant wood stove does she have in her converted school bus RV.

January 4, 2017 8:51 am

Ponderous, man ponderous….I wonder if the EPA is fining all the restaurants and BBQ across lower North America for doing the same – after all smoke up a chimney in Alaska is the same as smoke up a chimney in Toledo as smoke up a chimney Kansas City as smoke up a chimney in Huntington Beach as smoke up a chimney in Portland as smoke up a chimney in Bangor…help us O-B-wan Trump you’re our only hope

Reply to  jimmy_jimmy
January 4, 2017 9:16 am

CA forced bakers to put catalytic converters on their ovens years ago.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  jimmy_jimmy
January 4, 2017 10:29 am

“I wonder if the EPA is fining all the restaurants”
The EPA isn’t fining anyone here. The headline is just wrong. The story says that Fairbanks North Star Borough is thinking about fining people. It’s their problem.

Lee L
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:19 am

Then a zealot’s a zealot for aw’ that..

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:27 am

Do you see where the EPA is involved, Nick? I see in the story where it states “The E.P.A. could declare the entire area to be in “serious” noncompliance of the Clean Air Act” and thereby cut off federal funds, thereby indirectly imposing financial penalties.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:33 am

‘“We have a weather problem, we have inversions here that trap air, and it’s something that can’t be solved,” said Lance Roberts, a member of the Borough Assembly.’
The Borough can fine people on its own initiative. They represent the people that have to breathe the air.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:37 am

It really is fascinating how hard the trolls work in order to ignore reality.
The only real work that they do.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:59 am

We have a communication problem Nick; You adamantly refuse to be Ingenuous (synonym at genuine).

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 12:30 pm

Jesus Nick, by the very fact that choose to defend the EPA with your statement “the EPA is’nt fining anyone here” speaks volumes for your lack of understanding of the substance of the story, that is, people living in sub zero temperatures and needing heat to stay ALIVE, not warm but ALIVE.
Give yourself an upper cut Nick.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 4:30 pm

Have you considered seeking professional assistance for your Trump Derangement Syndrome, Nick?
Perhaps you could get counselling or something.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 9:12 pm

Our forebears burned wood in caves. Toneb burns wood (I’m sure it’s totally seasoned with a catalytic stove).
Those damned fungi produce methyl chloride, aka chloromethane that eats ozone for breakfast when THEY burn the wood.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 9:35 pm

Interesting choice. You’d rather people die from the cold rather than breathe some smoke?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 10:32 pm

“You’d rather people die from the cold rather than breathe some smoke?”
I’m not making the laws of the Borough. That’s for the council. I expect that they would like people to fix their heaters so they don’t emit so much smoke, and people can breathe easier.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 5, 2017 5:49 am

Nick Stokes: still disingenuous after all these year.

J. Camp
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 5, 2017 6:58 am

If the EPA wants to fine them they better hurry. January 20th is the day the new Sheriff arrives.

January 4, 2017 8:52 am

If they feel that way then the solution is pretty obvious. Use some of the cash they squander on useless renewables projects to subsidise smokeless coal for residents in winter. Now that wasn’t so hard was it?

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  cephus0
January 4, 2017 9:18 am

You can retro fit even the most antiquated wood burner for about 80 bucks to burn pellets instead, cleaner, hotter, and a lot easier to handle. If the EPA would just furlough 500 of their Washington D.C. staff they could retro fit all the stoves in Alaska and probably throw in a half dozen 50lb bags of pellets as a starter kit.

Mal Reynolds
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 4, 2017 9:37 am

Exit independence (cutting and splitting your own fuel) enter dependence buying fuel pellets.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 4, 2017 9:40 am

The difference is that in Alaska you are probably surrounded by wood and don’t need to buy a special “product”, you just cut wood.
That’s what it’s all about : creating dependencies and removing peoples ability to live autonomously.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 4, 2017 9:50 am

The problem is the fuel costs. Alaska is a harsh place and the cold kills sometimes within minutes. It is also a state where many are poor by the standards of most of the lower 48. The stove could be converted, but then the owner would have to buy fuel. That money is critical for food, which also helps preventing death from cold. Also, there are lots of towns (well villages or hamlets) where the only connection to the outside most of the year is by air or water.
If you have not wintered in Alaska you probably have not seen cold act like an active “thing.” We are educated to conceive of cold as simply the absence of heat, but in Alaska, you can experience cold “radiating” from objects like nail heads, where the other end of the nail is close to or exposed to the exterior. Ice grows on the nail head in your otherwise warm room. A pocket of chill air forms around it. It does not seem like you are losing heat to the outside. It looks for all the world like the cold is forcing its way inside. Now the EPA says you need to spend money to stay warm. Every Alaska will look out the door, see all that otherwise useless black spruce (well, to be fair you can also make paper of it, and it can be chipped to produce oriented strand board and cross-laminate) and ask, “why pay when I have all, that right outside?).

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 4, 2017 10:18 am

So lets use extra energy to grind and process the logs into pellets so that we can burn them. What an ill formed concept of energy conservations. Pelletizing waste byproducts from wood processing plants is a useful method of reclaiming an otherwise material loss, but to require that those living within a forest or close enough to gather their own fuel is stupid. Those who regularly buy wood from a supplier might want to consider switching to pellets, but otherwise not so smart of a proposal.
Coal fired energy production in Great Brittan during the 1930’s had similar situations with thermal inversions and those caused rather sever situations. However these inversions are not all winter long and last only for a few weeks at most
No doubt the situation exists (albeit temporarily and sporadically), but to foist such a non-functional solution onto the public carries all the hallmarks of a self-righteous moronic department that has lost all pinning to rational thought.
Perhaps a more sane “carrot” approach might be considered to offer subsidies to those who are willing to convert, but to show only the stick will reap scorn and derision.

bill johnston
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 4, 2017 12:08 pm

Dry corn is an even better source of fuel. And please, no references to ethanol.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 4, 2017 7:34 pm

You hit the nail right on the head. Why use all the energy to make pellets, and truck them hither and thither, when the wood is in your own yard?
I will add this: Why be dependent on others when you can be independent?
I think that is what some on the “left” dislike most: People who are independent and free.
For that matter, oil companies might not like the idea much either. And even wood-pellet-makers might lobby for a law that made burning logs illegal. However that is sheer selfishness, and does not look beyond greed, to the well-being of all.
One futuristic idea I like is the idea of small nuclear reactors for each small town, (perhaps thorium reactors, or perhaps not). After all, if there can be such a thing as a nuclear submarine or icebreaker, why not a nuclear small town? This would generate independence, rather than dependence on the “grid”.
What is best for the individual is good for society as a whole. We should seek to enable men and women to be self-reliant, rather than welfare-dependent.
Being connected to others is a good thing, and the “world-wide-web” is a wonderful modern miracle, for it allows individuals to exchange ideas across continents and oceans. However the “grid” is only a good thing when it frees the individual. When it starts to stink of a sort of slavery, we need to rethink.

Bryan A
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 4, 2017 8:55 pm

They obviously forget where the wood pellets come from. Without cutting down trees, and milling them there would be no pellets

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 4, 2017 9:39 pm

In that case, why not just use gas or electricity?
Did you miss the point slightly?

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 6, 2017 12:30 pm

I looked at pellet stoves before I bought a wood burner. The issue is that the blower in pellet stoves use electricity. That is fine if you live on the grid. I don’t live on the grid and can’t afford the amperage hit from those blowers at night.

G. Karst
Reply to  cephus0
January 4, 2017 9:43 am

Wouldn’t be easier and more cost effective to dissolve the inhuman EPA and replace it with an agency concerned with the human environment imperative? GK

Rhoda R
Reply to  G. Karst
January 4, 2017 11:15 am

Yes, but there would be less opportunity for graft and bureaucratic empire building.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  cephus0
January 4, 2017 12:23 pm

As a long time designer and promoter of clean combustion devices for domestic use, I want to point out that there is no such thing as a ‘clean fuel’. Fuels do not ‘contain pollution’ in the sense of a combustion product.
Clean combustion requires tuning the device to the fuel – whatever its condition – wet, dery, wood, coal, agri-waste briquettes. The same problem there and in Yellow Springs Ohio (which is about choking to death) is that the devices are poorly matched to the fuel and the way the stove or heater is operated. A bad operator can make for a very smoky fire. Every Boy Scout knows that.
One can run a stove in a ‘cleaner’ manner by how it is lit and fueled. One can also install a far better combustor. It does not require processing the fuel – though that is an oft-suggested option. It is simply not necessary and a waste of money. If you have access to pellets, fine, use them.
The Masonry Heater’s Association is promoting high mass heaters that run on wood and produce far less than the mandated EPA emission limit. They run on ordinary wood. How is it they are able to do it but others need ‘special processing’ of fuel? That is the difference between those who know and those who don’t.
I have received field reports confirming lab tests that the latest generation of crossdraft coal gasifiers emit so little smoke ‘the chimneys no longer have to be cleaned’. Smoke is not magical – it is just unburned fuel. Burn the fuel and there is no smoke. The idea that the stove was ‘old’ because it smoked heavily is just a guess. It could be the operator hasn’t a clue or a worry about how smoky it is or why.
The inversion they mention is a daily occurrence is most very cold places. The solution is to replace the burner, the stove, the hydronic heater, the stone construct, with a version that burns the fuel to completion. I saw a test report from an Indonesian wood pellet stove that produced 1/4 of the PM emissions of an LPG stove, supposedly the nirvana of clean combustion. So it is not the fuel, it is the device that needs attention.
Re EPA compliance: that rating of non-compliance probably already exists. The municipality may be thinking of fining specific offenders. Before doing that they should agree to put the fines towards making stoves locally (no need to import things from afar) that just ‘don’t do that’ and getting them into the homes of people – drawing lots if necessary. Just get ‘er done.
Some of the best work on this matter is being done by Ney York State: NESCAUM and NYSERDA.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 4, 2017 3:34 pm

Some of the best work on this matter is being done by Ney York State: NESCAUM and NYSERDA.

Having had first hand experience with NYSERDA I will have to disagree. In one case a 40,000 watt solar array. The panels were free, we had to pay for the installation and maintenance. Did I mention they had us put it on a roof in the middle of the Adirondacks? The panels spent a sizable portion of the winter covered with snow. With 3 years of data I calculated the payback time (just to pay for the installation costs). It was never. (Actually is was around 90 years).
In the second case NYSERDA blessed us with an industrial pellet boiler. What a joy. Again, we had to pay for the installation as well as a pellet storage and feeding system. Due to the high temperatures there were a few parts that ended up needing to be replaced at least once a year. Maintenance also ended up being more than expected as the poor guy that was responsible told me. The ones responsible for this cluster simply ignored the maintenance and huge capitol costs to tout their green solution. The real kicker was when it was all said and done the director commented that we weren’t saving all that much on the heating bill. Turns out the volume discount we were getting for the propane boilers no longer applied.
NYSERDA basically takes money out of the taxpayers pocket and gives it to a chosen few. They don’t appear to have experienced engineers. From what I saw only rookie engineers would be naive enough to peddle this nonsense.

Non Nomen
Reply to  cephus0
January 5, 2017 1:37 am

Think about charcoal. People bring in wood and carry away charcoal(minus a handling fee). Similar things are done with, e.g. apples. People bring in their apples and take away bottled apple juice. It works fine and creates jobs.

Paul Johnson
January 4, 2017 8:52 am

“Dr. Jeanne Olson, a veterinarian and air quality volunteer”. Or more appropriately, air quality vigilante?
But in a larger sense, how much human exposure to PM 2.5 “which can be deeply inhaled into the lungs” can there be when it’s -20 degrees? Isn’t everyone inside?

Reply to  Paul Johnson
January 4, 2017 9:15 am

And if they are outside, they aren’t inhaling deeply. When it’s that cold, you take shallow breathes, running the air over as much of your mouth and tongue as you can to warm it up before it hits your lungs.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
January 4, 2017 10:20 am

I’ve found from personal experience that wearing face protection (scarf or balaclava) and inhaling ONLY through the nose is the safest way to go. If you try to breath through the mouth at 20 below you will end up damaging something.

Bill McCarter
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
January 4, 2017 12:04 pm

The proper breath technique at 40 below is to breathe in through the mouth from inside your coat and then breathe out through the nose.
Breathing in through the nose at below -25 is a sure way to freeze your nose.
Breathing in from inside your coat reduces moisture inside your coat and preheats the air.
Breathing only out through your nose will keep the frostbite away from your nose.
I have done this at -57 C staking claims in the Klondike. Good times, still a vivid memory 35 years later.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
January 5, 2017 3:40 am

Bill says:
“The proper breath technique at 40 below is to breathe in through the mouth from inside your coat and then breathe out through the nose.”
Having worked outdoors at -40C(equals -40F), I can attest that the boogers in your nose freeze and feel really strange.
Regards, Allan

Reply to  Paul Johnson
January 4, 2017 10:28 am

Having grown up in Chicago I know a few things about cold winters, but nothing near to the Alaskans. That being said we DID NOT exercise vigorously outdoors when it became too cold because ice crystals formed during heavy breathing caused damage to the lungs. Yes, you can cause frostbite to your lungs.
I suspect that Alaskans don’t have the luxury to remain indoors during the winter and must venture out and about to exist.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Paul Johnson
January 4, 2017 12:29 pm

Yes, I got a picture of a “block captain” in Cuba or a snitch in East Germany. Or, a child in Orwell’s 1984.
I loved the part about what she was driving as she crept around the neighbourhood. I guess carbon monoxide doesn’t count these days.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
January 4, 2017 5:51 pm

When it gets really cold in Alaska the carbon monoxide from the trucks just freeze as a tube and lays out on the ground.
We didn’t have to pay attention to which turns we would take on the roads when going out to set our aerial photo field mapping points because we could just follow the frozen “exhaust cylinders” back to the main road. But, one Friday, when were working in mountainous ground with steep hillsides, the wind blew the frozen exhaust tubes off the edge of the road and it rolled and down the mountain where it broke up into pieces to tiny to recognize (we searched but couldn’t find any). We were not able find our way back to the main road until early Saturday morning.
I think that breathing even a little of the microscopic frozen carbon monoxide particles is worse than breathing the gaseous form ’cause we had really bad headaches the next morningl … had to stay in bed the rest of the day.

Reply to  Paul Johnson
January 4, 2017 8:11 pm

“air quality volunteer”
Look out, now!

Caligula Jones
Reply to  TA
January 5, 2017 12:53 pm

Unfortunately, due to the chronic ingestion of, well, chronic, too many warmunists aren’t qualified to volunteer to test the quality of the air.
Pity, as they have the time.

AGW is not Science
January 4, 2017 8:57 am

Freeze to death in the dark. It’s the “final solution” of the Climate Fascists against humanity (um, except themselves, of course).

Reply to  AGW is not Science
January 4, 2017 9:17 am

They have been saying that the earth’s human population should be below 100 million.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 9:51 am

I wonder why none of Them volunteer to take one for the team?

AGW is not Science
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 11:39 am

Yes, but it’s always somebody ELSE that has to “depopulate,” never the Climate Fascists.

Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 11:40 am

They view themselves as the anointed who are entitled to enjoy an earth without all those nasty proles clogging it up.

Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 1:50 pm

It is really going to be a bumpy ride to get the Earth’s population below 100 million…

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
January 4, 2017 9:00 pm

Might not be that tough to do, but the quickest ways will leave an earth that the remaining 100,000,000 would only survive at best and probably wouldn’t like. Certainly not a utopia

Darrell Demick
January 4, 2017 8:59 am

PLEASE DON’T GIVE PREMIER KATHEEN WYNNE OF ONTARIO IDEAS!!!!!! The residents of Ontario, plagued with a terribly unreliable electrical power grid due to the elimination of coal fired power generation, and renewable sources that simply don’t cut it, are forced to burn wood and coal due to the lack of reliability and the high cost of energy. This would be yet another way to milk the people of the province.
And Alberta is well on the way towards a similar fate – arrrrrgh!!!!!!!

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Darrell Demick
January 4, 2017 12:31 pm

Well, my folks in Northern Ontario will simply be burning more wood. There is a reason why they have 100 acres of bush.
And I wouldn’t want to be a “air quality volunteer” around where I used to live. You might find that being completely ostracized by an entire community less than amusing.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Darrell Demick
January 4, 2017 12:38 pm

Well it is certainly illegal to burn wood in Waterloo! OMG we left the stone age behind. Or should I say ‘stove age’. What happens is neighbours just turn a blind eye to the smoking chimneys. If you got ’em, smoke ’em.
Government of Ontario’s ideas put into action:
And business comments

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 4, 2017 1:27 pm

California and Quebec worked together to bring Cap-and-Trade into Canada. Go to the Quebec MSM c.2012 or a little before this time for information.
Quebec has about 95% hydro-electric power to supply the province.
Cap-and-Trade was included in the 2009 Ontario Green Energy Act but not imposed until 2017.
California is included in the new Cap-and-Trade deal along with Ontario and Quebec.
Voters who were mostly the urban voters got what they voted for under the present government.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 4, 2017 1:55 pm
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 4, 2017 3:30 pm

Price Carbon Now!
‘Quebec’s Cap-and-Trade System’
Quebec’s Cap-and-Trade system formally started on January 1, 2013.
In 2014, Quebec linked its Cap-and-Trade to California.
Much more information on this topic online.
Search: Quebec Cap-and-Trade.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 5, 2017 2:26 pm

This is an example (Cap and Trade) of introducing policy making at the sub-national level and then having that policy spread to the national level.

January 4, 2017 9:04 am

Only thing that needs be said: Drain the Swamp
Hopefully, the new EPA admin will transfer those who are chasing this within the EPA to Alaska. Unfortunately, those offices may not have any heat due to existing regulations. Too bad.

Reply to  DAV
January 4, 2017 9:16 am

Maybe they could give them a wood stove for warmth…

Roger Knights
January 4, 2017 9:09 am

Here are a couple of old WUWT comments from 2013 on this topic:

michaelwiseguy says:
August 11, 2013 at 1:00 am
Alexander Feht says:
August 11, 2013 at 12:43 am
“For the record: it is 1:40 AM, August 11th, 2013, and the temperature outside is 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).”
Try this;
Rocket Stove Mass Heater
rocket mass heaters in a nutshell:
heat your home with 80% to 90% less wood
exhaust is nearly pure steam and CO2 (a little smoke at the beginning)
the heat from one fire can last for days
you can build one in a day and half
folks have built them spending less than $20
the verbose details on rocket mass heaters:
This could be the cleanest and most sustainable way to heat a conventional home. Some people have reported that they heat their home with nothing more than the dead branches that fall off the trees in their yard. And they burn so clean, that a lot of sneaky people are using them illegally, in cities, without detection.
When somebody first told me about rocket mass heaters, none of it made sense. The fire burns sideways? No smoke? If a conventional wood stove is 75% efficient, doesn’t that mean the most wood you could possibly save is something like 25%? How do you have a big hole right over the fire and not have the house fill with smoke? I was skeptical.
And then I saw one in action. The fire really does burn sideways. The exhaust is near room temperature – and very clean. The smoke doesn’t come back up because a huge amount of air is getting sucked into the wood hole. Neat! I sat on one that had not had a fire in it for 24 hours – it was still hot!
John says:
April 25, 2013 at 10:24 am
WUWT (readers and writers) are pretty cynical with regard to one issue of science and pollution — the effects of CO2 on planetary warming, and the models (and modelers) that study those effects. And there is good reason to be cynical, not that CO2 (and other emissions such as black carbon) don’t cause warming, but rather than the hand has been overplayed, in some cases in very unscientific ways.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise to see that WUWT appears to accept without much question that all tiny particles, regardless of chemical composition, must be harmful, must cause heart attacks, early death, and so on.
Yet the chemical makeup of these particles differs greatly. We have known for decades that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in diesel are carcinogenic and biologically active, they react with cells in the human body and create harmful substances. The science on other types of particles is not quite as strong. There is concern that tiny metal particles – from smelting, brake wear, engine wear, for example – might cause harm inside the body, when breathed into the lungs.
Other particles may not be particularly harmful. While epidemiology suggests that all particles are likely to be harmful, toxicology does not. We still have a ways to go to understand which types of tiny airborne particles are most harmful, and which might not be.

Reply to  Roger Knights
January 4, 2017 9:55 am

Toxicological issues are only one problem. Small particles can also be mechanically harmful.

J McClure
Reply to  Roger Knights
January 4, 2017 10:19 am

Great comment!
The other obvious issue is extent. Alaska is the largest State with a population of only 735,132 (2013 census).

J McClure
Reply to  J McClure
January 4, 2017 10:35 am

This is absurd as usual. Only 4% of Alaskains use wood as their primary home heating fuel. The majority use nat gas and heating oil. Those who use wood are largely in the Interior.

J McClure
Reply to  J McClure
January 4, 2017 11:34 am

Take a look at the link in my prior comment for a great second day follow-up article.
“Wood Energy for Residential Heating in Alaska: Current Conditions, Attitudes, and Expected Use”
It appears Federal agencies were promoting the use of EPA approved wood burning home heating systems in 2010.
As usual, Obama’s agencies aren’t on the same page ; )
Footnote: number of households impacted is a muse…

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Roger Knights
January 4, 2017 12:47 pm

There is also in the US an Alliance for Green Heat.
They promote among other things, Masonry Heaters http://www.mha-net.org/ which are a bit more sophisticated than Rocket Mass Heaters incorporating single or double ‘bells’ of high thermal mass. Both systems use thermal mass for heat storage. Both have at least one down-drafting portion in the gas path. Any modern one is far cleaner than the EPA limits for wood stoves.

January 4, 2017 9:09 am

Use nuclear power for heat – Oh, forgot, the greenies are anti-nuclear.
Use hydroelectric sources for heat – Oh, forgot, the greenies don’t want to interrupt fish runs.
Use oil for heat – sorry, they’re anti-pipeline and off-shore drilling.
Just go ahead and let hypothermia take your life – Yes! We’re for decreasing world population! (The meanie greenies.)

Keith J
January 4, 2017 9:09 am

And in Europe, utilities are subsidized to burn wood to keep empty buildings warm.
I heat with wood, in fact the fire is burning now. I know how to build and stoke it to keep PM 2.5 low. Top down starting, no paper and keep firebox temp high. Of course this is a high efficiency insert with secondary combustion.
How about a subsidy to retrofit high efficiency units plus a little education on use?

January 4, 2017 9:11 am

From the NY Times article

For six consecutive days in mid-December, the air here was declared “unhealthy,” for high particulate content — the longest streak since the current monitoring system began in late 2015.

From Journal of Toracic Disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740125/

Scientists in Canada and the US found that long-term exposure to PM2.5 significantly increased not only the chances of cardiopulmonary problems but also the mortality of lung cancers..

From this I take that long term exposure can increase disease but I don’t think 6 days could be considered long term. I also think that most people stay indoors when it gets this cold.
IMO this is another inappropriate application of the linear no threshold model. Dr Roy Spencer on his blog had this to say.

In fact, decades of research by people like Ed Calabrese has suggested that exposure to low levels of things which are considered toxic in large amounts actually strength the human body and make it more resilient — even exposure to radiation. You let your children get sick because it will strengthen their immune systems later in life. If you protected them from all illnesses, it could prove fatal later in life. Read about the Russian family Lost in the Taiga for 40 years, and how their eventual exposure to others led to their deaths due to disease.

Reply to  DCS
January 4, 2017 9:26 am

exposure to low levels of things which are considered toxic in large amounts actually strength the human body and make it more resilient
Mithridatism is the practice of protecting oneself against a poison by gradually self-administering non-lethal amounts.

Reply to  DCS
January 4, 2017 9:44 am

“the longest streak since the current monitoring system began in late 2015”
Oh, my.
Late 2015! Oh, boy.

January 4, 2017 9:14 am

Air pollution can only mean very light winds, why can’t Greens join the dots to see their renewable-dream future. Alaskans should just sit in their electric cars on very cold days and turn on the heater.

January 4, 2017 9:14 am

I have to ask: what would my grandma say, huddled around her wood stove in the kitchen all winter when someone from a Governmental agency comes and knocks on the door wanting to take some of her money? “Talk to me about it next Spring.” She died at 88, after a lifetime of breathing all that polluted air. I guess there is more to the PM2.5 story than we’re allowed to learn?

Ed zuiderwijk
January 4, 2017 9:15 am

Mr Hamlin deserves to be hung outside to cool off.

ferd berple
January 4, 2017 9:17 am

“We don’t want to be telling people what to do, but ….
“We really like you, but …
“Your work is fantastic, but …
“We are here to help you, but …

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  ferd berple
January 4, 2017 9:26 am

The nine scariest words in the English Language:
“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”
R. Reagan, 1986

Reply to  ferd berple
January 4, 2017 9:49 am

Interesting word but.
Basically it means “We really like you, but so ignore that I’ve said that and you’re fired.”

Another Ian
Reply to  mikerestin
January 4, 2017 12:08 pm

I was once told to “ignore everything before the “but””

Reply to  mikerestin
January 4, 2017 12:41 pm

I was told, “Everything after the “but” is a lie.

Reply to  ferd berple
January 4, 2017 11:48 am

ferd , the most feared words in pro sports:
We have all the confidence in….

January 4, 2017 9:19 am

Wood stoves are carbon neutral, so how can they be polluting?

Reply to  ferdberple
January 4, 2017 10:01 am

Because California Envionmentalists are freaking out over PM 2.5 that they dumped millions of dollars to lower it in their State, that everyone should follow. Only, they are showing that they’re idiots.

Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 4, 2017 9:04 pm

I’m sorry, but environmentally Californians are ahead of the curve, leading the way and setting legislative examples for the rest of the nation and the world to follow.
We know this because rarely a day goes by without some California politician or their appointees telling us so in our newspaper articles.

Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
January 5, 2017 5:25 pm

“I’m sorry, but…”
(see ferd, ian and shelly, above)

Bryan A
Reply to  ferdberple
January 5, 2017 2:30 pm

Perhaps they really aren’t Carbon Neutral. If you have to cut a tree which sinks alot of carbon, you eliminate that sink. If you then burn the wood for heat, you release the stored carbon into a reduced sink so ambient CO2 levels rise over time because less is sunk. No such thing as Carbon Neutral energy if it releases CO2.

January 4, 2017 9:19 am

I live in a nice cozy climate zone in the eastern USA, and in winter, a neighbor in a financial crisis was cutting wood from a nearby easement stand of trees to burn for heat, which smoked up the neighborhood and made breathing for people and their pets outside not too pleasant.
Walking a large, long-haired German shepherd in such polluted air is sort of cruel, I think — the animal (genetically designed to do twenty miles a day) is already confined to my wimpy civilized daily walking routine, and now, for a couple months, he had to breathe this crappy air. So, I see where the motivation comes from to limit wood burning, but I also see the stupidity in charging so much for other heating fuels that people are forced to endanger their lungs just to stay alive.
Let’s see, freeze to death because I cannot afford the price of heating fuel or cut down free wood to stay alive, what shall I do? … Not such a tough decision, is it ? Survival trumps clean air, unfortunately. And unless people can afford to survive in clean air, then what the hell good is it to THEM ?

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
January 4, 2017 10:07 am

If anything is a local pollution matter it’s wood heating . It is real and the efficiency of combustion heat transfer vary over a wide range . Here in Teller County where there are a good number of homes hidden behind stacks of wood in the fall , I’m not sure the population density even in the main town Woodland Park would warrant regulations .
But , again , as Hayek and Ron Paul emphasize the problem and knowledge are intrinsically local . Centralized power is intrinsically a dumb club .

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
January 4, 2017 11:44 am

If he’s burning green wood, no wonder it’s smoking so badly.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
January 4, 2017 11:53 am

Robert Kernodle, have a similar situation here, “nice cozy climate zone” in north central Tejas, but, someone, facing perhaps “fuel poverty” has chosen to burn wood (and perhaps other burnable trash including plastics!) in their inefficient fireplace in lieu of running central heat in their “Clean All-electric” home … This practices fouls the air something fierce, and so I thank the EPA for making electric power more expensive through a war on coal and funding expensive un-‘renewables’.
I have written on this subject before, here on WUWT blog, to little fanfare …

G. Karst
January 4, 2017 9:22 am

When people are denied the basic requirements to survive harsh environments, only two things can happen. Revolution/Rebellion or depopulation. Which direction will Alaska take. GK

January 4, 2017 9:24 am

Back in the seventies there was a big ‘heat with wood’ craze, with articles in the likes of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. It was touted as being green and renewable and would save us from the impending oil shortage. A decade later the MSM was rife with bitching about the pollution in Aspen from all the wood fires. Even Griff isn’t clever enough to have it both ways: i guess the only answer is we all freeze to death in the coming ice age!

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  Cube
January 4, 2017 9:35 am

Back when western ski towns were experiencing “fireplace smog” a lot of the problem was due to
1) Morons with too much money who had no clue how things work.
2) Locals who were willing to sell over-priced cords of moderately green pine and fir to said morons to burn in their very trendy Jotuls and Vermont Castings stoves.

January 4, 2017 9:27 am

Obama dismantled immigration enforcement through the use of prosecutorial discretion. Trump can do the same thing to these silly regulations, fail to enforce them by not prosecuting. Obama’s agencies funded eco groups to sue them to overturn rules they didn’t like. Trump can do the same to “2.5”.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Taphonomic
January 4, 2017 10:22 am

It’s not “silly regulations”. It is the Clean Air Act, passed in 1970, signed by Nixon.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 10:42 am

Ok, how a bout a silly misinterpretation and over-reach of the Clean Air Act. This is obviously a situation where the letter of the law is flawed.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:26 am

All the immigration laws were passed by Congress and signed by a President too, yet it was deemed OK by many on the left to simply order ICE not to enforce many of them. So by the same token, President Trump can do the same with environmental regulations, including the clean air act. Elections have consequences; at least that’s what I’ve been told.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:42 am

“So by the same token, President Trump can do the same with environmental regulations, including the clean air act.”
So do you think that is the right thing to do? Do you think he really will tell the EPA not to enforce the Clean Air Act?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:46 am

Let me see if I have this straight.
Anything that is “the law” can’t be silly?
That’s silly.
Regrdless, 99% of the pollution was cleaned up by the end of the 70’s. Everything since then has been useless empire building.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 11:47 am

Poor Nick, he really thinks this is a binary thing. Either you support every single regulation that has been enacted under the Clean Air Act, or you want people to breath polluted air.
I guess when you have sold your soul for a government check, everything government does must be a good thing.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 12:00 pm

“or you want people to breath polluted air.”
That seems to be exactly the issue in Fairbanks.

Curious George
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 12:12 pm

Clean Air Act, passed in 1970. Ignored in Alaska 1970-2016. Rigorously enforced in the last three weeks of Obama administration. THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE VOTED FOR TRUMP!

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 12:19 pm

Poor Nick. If the government says the air is polluted, then the air is polluted.
It must be nice being able to go through life letting other people do all your thinking for you.
Perhaps when you die they can give your brain to someone else. Just like new, never used.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 12:49 pm

“Rigorously enforced in the last three weeks of Obama administration.”
The only enforcement mentioned is the possibility of fines imposed by the Borough. Any EPA action is very unlikely to happen in Obama’s last days.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 12:55 pm

Well, Obama and the EPA now call CO2 pollution, so why not reverse what they have done.

Curious George
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 5:33 pm

Nick, please bother to read the article. The EPA is mentioned nine times. Locals feel that the borough council is pressured by EPA to impose fines. Also notice the illustration showing a “smoke billowing from a home”. They surely selected the worst offender; it still looks very clean to me.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 6:22 pm

“2.5” isn’t the clean air act. It’s a regulation passed by well-meaning tools of the envirofascist movement. It can be removed with the stroke of a pen by the new director of the EPA.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 4, 2017 7:40 pm

” Locals feel that the borough council is pressured by EPA to impose fines.”
I’m sure some do. And I’m sure others just want the borough to clean up the air. But that’s the trouble with mis-stating facts. If WUWT says that the EPA is imposing the fines, we can’t even inquire what is motivating the borough.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 5, 2017 11:24 am

Nick, do you understand the difference between a law and a regulation?
Clean air act is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President.. PM 2.5 – Regulations are regulations promulgated by an agency. And yes the regulations are silly while the law is not.

January 4, 2017 9:27 am

But biofuel is green, right? Right?

January 4, 2017 9:28 am

comment image

January 4, 2017 9:35 am

So what are they going to do if the Alaskans won’t play? Drag them all off to jail?
That would solve the problem right enough, they would all be sitting in nice warm cells with the Government picking up the heating bills.

Reply to  Oldseadog
January 4, 2017 11:50 am

I was reading about a highway through some part of rural Alaska where the police advised anyone riding a motorcycle to carry several guns and lots of extra ammunition. The idea was to have enough to kill all the bears and wolves that were going to try and eat you if you were unfortunate enough to break down. They also advised to keep the last bullet for yourself. I could be days before someone came along to collect your bones.
I was thinking that taking such busy bodies to a remote corner of the forest and just leaving them there. And let nature take it’s course.

January 4, 2017 9:35 am

“The average from 2013 to 2015 for dangerous small-particle pollution, called PM 2.5 […] was by far the highest in the nation in North Pole, just southeast of Fairbanks, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.”
Nonsense. The highest PM 2.5 are found in underground subway. e.g. : http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es504295h
And much more people use subways, than Alaska has inhabitants.
I am waiting forward EPA harass cities’ underground networks the way they do alaskans. But for some reason, i bet this won’t happen

Reply to  paqyfelyc
January 5, 2017 5:32 pm

interesting … thanks

Pillage Idiot
January 4, 2017 9:39 am

Both times this story has hit the news they state that, “At about minus 20 Fahrenheit — a fairly regular occurrence here in winter — smoke that goes up comes right back down, to linger at ground level”.
What is the physical mechanism that causes this? Air that is at -20 degrees F with no water vapor must be incredibly dense. Why does the smoke come back down?
Or (as usual) is it the journalist (writing the original article) that is incredibly dense? Is there some other mechanism (like a temperature inversion) that causes the smoke to come back down to ground level?

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
January 4, 2017 10:06 am

Probably a temp inversion. Happens all the time in Eugene, and wood use is stopped on those days.

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
January 4, 2017 10:18 am

Prb’ly temp inversions during calm winds, where the very coldest air hugs the surface & slightly warmer air above it traps anything coming from the ground. See it occasionally here in east US but prb’ly alot more common in some arctic and valley areas.

January 4, 2017 9:39 am

Small population red state communities are fair game for this EPA. Wait for the next (rifed) EPA for the real story.

Clif westin
January 4, 2017 9:42 am

Why do they burn all that wood? When I lived in North Dakota and it would get that cold, we only needed one log for the whole winter. Crazy you say? Naw, easy. Grab your log of firewood, run up to the second floor, thow it out the window run down the stairs and go get it. Repeat all winter.

January 4, 2017 9:45 am

Yes, air pollution must be a big concern for Alaska, sarcasm! Just wonder, what’s the population density of that state?

January 4, 2017 9:53 am

The mistake in Alaska is in burning raw wood. They should instead pay to import Green-certified pellets from the UK even if it originates from lower 48 state wood pellet plants and associated clear cut sites there. In other words they are not wasting enough money on appearances and Green money changers and enviro media consultants.

January 4, 2017 9:55 am

Worrall, please learn to read.
“Civil fines by Fairbanks North Star Borough ” does not imply ” being fined by mobile EPA air quality inspectors.”
You see Eric, the EPA is a federal authority, and the Borough is a local authority.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Keith Sketchley
January 4, 2017 10:05 am

Is the local authority levying the fines for non-attainment of the federal standard?

Reply to  Keith Sketchley
January 4, 2017 10:58 am

True the civil fines would be coming from the local authorities, who are being pressured by the federal government to impose changes. The guy holding the gun to the head of the of the executioner is the perpetrator not the executioner. According the your logic its the gun that kills, not the one who pulls the trigger.

Reply to  rocketscientist
January 4, 2017 12:05 pm

rocket, that is the logic behind “gun” control.

Reply to  rocketscientist
January 4, 2017 12:19 pm

Gun control means hitting your target.

Russell R.
January 4, 2017 9:58 am

Any PM2.5 generated in a 747 travelling from Washington D.C, to Alaska for a photo op? How about eight years of globe trotting in personalized comfort at taxpayers expense?
Got no sympathy for guys toughing out a brutal winter in the frozen tundra, while you enjoy another Hawaiian vacation?
The hypocrisy is reaching epic proportions.

January 4, 2017 10:06 am

Okay, one more thing:comment image

Bryan A
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
January 5, 2017 5:41 pm

Now that is what we really do need…an agency dedicated to protecting the United States Climate Funds from those in other countries that would seek to deplete it

January 4, 2017 10:09 am

Alaskans are resourceful. They should respond with fake DIY solar panels on their roof and some old paddles as fake windmill blades.

Rick C PE
January 4, 2017 10:43 am

EPA has regulated PM Emissions from wood burning stoves since 1990. All stoves on the market since have been 80 to 90% cleaner than stoves produced before the regulations. But they have also been more expensive and many of the stoves sold in the 1970s and 80s were very poor in emissions. EPA and industry have supported many change out programs to get consumers to replace old stoves with clean burning models (e. g. Missaula, MT). EPA revised the regulations in 2015 to cover all types of wood burning residential heating appliances which further increases the cost and might result in new stoves being 95% cleaner than pre-regulation designs. But prices are now high enough that clean heating with wood is not much of an option for low income households.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Rick C PE
January 4, 2017 11:14 am

So you are saying that it is okay for low income people to kill their children while saving a buck on energy?
This happens all too often. Of course rich people do it too.
One of things that drives me nuts while working in nuclear power is reading the local paper about the inevitable fatalities that cold weather and power outages bring.
Quality wood burning equipment is more expensive than the junk taken off the market by EPA regulations. Good residence!
Recommend smoke and carbon dioxide detectors in any case. Also check out stuff before it is needed.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Retired Kit P
January 4, 2017 12:58 pm

**Recommend smoke and carbon dioxide detectors in any case. Also check out stuff before it is needed.**
Carbon dioxide from combustion or any other source is not poisonous.
Did you mean carbon monoxide?

Rick C PE
Reply to  Retired Kit P
January 4, 2017 8:35 pm

Ret. Kit P:
I don’t get your comment. How did I advocate low income folks harming anyone? Maybe rather than fining people for trying to find an affordable way to stay warm, Alaska could find a way to help these people replace their crappy old stoves with new clean burning ones. Given the fuel cost savings of wood v. oil or propane they could pay back a low or no interest loan in a few years. I spent $3500 on a very clean very efficient wood stove a few years ago and it saves me around $1200/yr in WI. I live in the country and get all the firewood I need just cutting up trees that die and fall down around my house. Technically I guess I could sell the 2-3 cords I burn each winter for a few hundred bucks, but it feels free to me.
And yes, everyone should have a smoke/CO detector no matter what fuel they use.

Reply to  Rick C PE
January 4, 2017 12:11 pm

They’ve become so expensive around here that places that did sell them have pretty much quit because most people can’t afford them. It’s cheaper make one out of an old barrel and say to hell with the store bought wood stoves.

Retired Kit P
January 4, 2017 10:50 am

After getting out of the navy in 1980, I moved to the boondocks and bought log house in the mountains. It had wood and oil hot water heat. My neighbor explained the good bad of heating with wood. His cousin made a homemade wood boiler and had the habit of burning green wood.
At the recommendation of my neighbor, I replaced the wood boiler with a quality air tight unit that burned more efficiently. More importantly, the cleaner burning stove reduced the chimney fire hazard which was a common event in that poor rural area.
Another neighbor like to explain the dangers of nuclear power at the plant I worked at. “Had any chimney fires lately Glen?” Glen did not want to discuss safety anymore.
If you heat with wood, stupid can get you killed. The problem with the EPA, there brand of stupid can also get you killed.

January 4, 2017 10:51 am

yesterdays post was British paying people to burn biomass, heating empty buildings. we should send a bunch of Washington EPA peopke to remote Alaskan villages to observe globul warming first hand. We will outfit them with sunblock and other such useful items.

January 4, 2017 10:57 am

I spent a good stretch of my childhood hauling in coal and chopping wood for heating the house. I used to play in the coal bin — loads of fun for a kid, who thinks nothing of pollution. Consequently, had some official walked up to the house back then and mentioned a fine for burning wood, it would have been the equivalent of an evil outer-space alien landing in the backyard, speaking in some foreign tongue. And we all know what can happen to evil outer-space aliens landing in people’s backyards.
Let’s just say that I would not want to be one of the enforcers of this measure.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
January 4, 2017 11:21 am

The good old days were not so good. You would certainly would not want be to be an enforcer.

January 4, 2017 11:19 am

Let them try this here in Kansas City. No more wood smoke for barbeque ribs? That’s heresy.

The Original Mike M
January 4, 2017 11:39 am

Fiction is becoming reality! https://sputniknews.com/world/2007040362999935/
“Experts said that between 50 and 100 grams of CO2, a so-called greenhouse gas, is emitted during barbequing. Beginning June 2007, residents of Wallonia will have to pay 20 euros for a grilling session.
The local authorities plan to monitor compliance with the new tax legislation from helicopters, whose thermal sensors will detect burning grills. “

Russell R.
January 4, 2017 11:46 am

The homo sapien experience is defined by using brainpower and then fire to overcome the challenges given to a hairless ape, without the fangs and claws to compete with other predatory animals for food and shelter. We have evolved sitting around the source of our power, the ability to create fire. The idea that a bit of smoke from a wood fire, will kill us is ridiculous and shows how we have forgotten the struggles of past generations, just to provide food, clothing, and shelter for themselves.
Exposure to smoke on a daily basis is not good for us, but it is also something we have a genetic disposition to tolerate. To the point where we are the only species on the planet, that has individuals who have mastered the behavior, of intentionally breathing in smoke.

January 4, 2017 11:59 am

Next thing you know there will be bans on burning flags and EPA director in effigy. Well those might be a stretch.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Resourceguy
January 4, 2017 12:33 pm

C’mon, the idiots who will be burning Trump in effigy on Inauguration Day will be getting a special dispensation from Shadow President Al Gore.

Lee L
January 4, 2017 12:25 pm

DOWN! DOWN with campfires!!!
I mean it’s coming right?

Reply to  Lee L
January 5, 2017 3:13 pm

In CA they wanted to ban campfires in the state beaches that provided fire pits, because some nearby residents were complaining about air quality.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
January 4, 2017 12:32 pm

It’s a puzzle. My nation has survived despite of repeated and multi-generation exposure to smoke saunas built without a chimney. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_sauna

Reply to  Jaakko Kateenkorva
January 4, 2017 12:43 pm

Pull over and show some ID.

Reply to  Resourceguy
January 4, 2017 1:08 pm

Can’t do Resourceguy. My ancestors succumbed to obscure lung complaint before puberty.

Joel Snider
January 4, 2017 12:47 pm

Classic example of a Progressive elitist making decisions that he will never suffer from. Honestly, has there ever been a President in America who brought so much deliberate pain to his own people? And then practically breaks his arm patting himself on the back?
All you city mice that have been deciding how us country folk have to live – mostly out of positions of ignorance bordering on enemy action – all to suit your sensibilities and fan your warm fuzzy – should remember the old adage of ‘when they came for me there was no one left’ – because it was actually YOU who was coming after everyone else all along.

January 4, 2017 1:26 pm

So the question is why are they burning logs to keep warm?
A. They are poor and can’t afford the alternative methods to warm a house.
B. They don’t have access to alternate methods to warm their house.
C. They don’t want to warm their house with other methods.
D. Add your own excuse here
I am amazed that some of the comments above would rather the people freeze to death as opposed to keeping warm the way they always have in that area. Odds are those who are the ones complaining about this issue are not long term residents and want everyone to conform to their progressive desires. Just sayin….. who is gonna go hang outside in -30 conditions in the smoke anyhow?
Oh wait, maybe the snowflakes do? Sarc/

January 4, 2017 1:57 pm

Wait… What? This isn’t an Onion headline?

James at 48
January 4, 2017 2:42 pm

I’ve bemoaned the smoking Nazis but I have similar disdain for the smoke Nazis. Ironically, my finding about smoke Nazis is many of them are former smokers who now suffer COPD. Therefore, they have the right to make me cease burning, right? NOT!!!!

Will Nelson
January 4, 2017 3:19 pm

“Fairbanks temperature inversions are so consistent that meteorologist Rick Thoman, also of the Fairbanks office of the National Weather Service, once calculated how much firewood he saved by living in the hills west of town.
He lives at about 1,600 feet elevation, and he compared his average temperatures with those of a Weather Service observer who lived at 590 feet. In one winter, his home averaged 16 degrees warmer than the low site. Thoman figured that, thanks to Fairbanks’ persistent temperature inversion, he burned 20 percent less wood by living up high.”

Reply to  Will Nelson
January 4, 2017 8:31 pm

The EPA need to ban inversions! It is just not acceptable to have natural things happen anylonger in a anthropogenic World. Just ask them…..

January 4, 2017 3:43 pm

But wood is a biofuel and a form of solar based energy. Such energy sources should be exempt from any inhibiting EPA regulations. Instead of being fined these people should recieve government subsidies for making use of biofuels. According to some of the theroy going around, additional particulate material in the atmosphere is suppose to cause cooling and counteracts global warming. People should be paid by the government to add particulate matter to the atmosphere.

Reply to  willhaas
January 4, 2017 4:09 pm

Well said, burning wood assists in cloud nucleation and protection from GLOBAL WARMING

Reply to  stock
January 4, 2017 5:54 pm

What we don’t know is how much the shrunken heliosphere and increased cosmic ray influx influence nucleation. The state of the heliosphere (and its cloud-propagating effects) might be in charge (for the present), no matter what the popular notions of climate regulation might be.

January 4, 2017 4:39 pm

Part of a poem a while back that I’m reposting:
So if I do some harm
By just keeping warm,
You’ll have to kindly forgive me!
I find my solution
Is carbon pollution…
Ere Gaia will quickly outlive me!

It just might be a credo for my fellow Americans.

January 4, 2017 4:46 pm

Reply to  Streetcred
January 4, 2017 5:31 pm

As a musician, What’s not to like? I’ve enjoyed all the opi that they have produced.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
January 4, 2017 10:56 pm

+ 1

January 4, 2017 6:08 pm

Yet in New England we are told to heat with wood and wood pellets because it is renewable energ. We have 2 pellet stoves and I use the ashes to pour over areas I don’t want snow but don’t want to shovel

Ian L. McQueen
January 4, 2017 7:02 pm

On the radio today there was the comparative cost of some means of heating. Lowest (in NB) was a conventional wood-burning stove. Next, IIRC, came wood pellets (but these require electricity, which makes them useless if you are using the heat source as the only heat source). After that, again IIRC, was a heat pump. After them came oil, propane, and electrical baseboards, and I lost track of the order for them.
Ian M

January 4, 2017 8:48 pm

Who in the hell is outside at -30 for any time than is absolutely necessary who could be affected?
Don’t beam me up Scotty, get the EPA clowns outa here NOW!

January 4, 2017 9:16 pm

Dear Dr. Jeanne Olson (veterinarian and air quality volunteer),
You are a fruitcake and a quack. You do not understand anything with regards to air quality or atmospheric pressure. Worse than that you do not understand anything with regards to scent tracking processes of a canine or any other tracking mammal. Go back to school and learn something worthy of your “title”. If your previous school didn’t teach it you should publicly condemn those to whom you paid for an inadequate education.
When the pressure is low (or fallling), scent as well as smoke will fall to the ground. A tracking dog will not be able to pick up the scent trail as the same atmospheric process causes the smoke to fall to the ground. And don’t even try any claim to global warming (I had to toss that one in).
I may have been a little hard on the babe but she wanted to claim a level of knowledge beyond her means. However, I would like a little advice on clearing the anal glands on my bird dog

January 5, 2017 12:57 am

Let’s not forget that Alaska, for the third year running, has seen its warmest year on record in 2016.
“In 2016, at least 14 communities around the state recorded their highest average temperatures ever. That includes Anchorage, where the average temperature was 4.5 degrees above normal. And in some places like Utqiaġvik, on the North Slope, the average temperature increased more than 7 degrees.”
And Alaska has been seeing some warm weather this winter…
“America’s northernmost city, a mere 1,300 miles away from the North Pole, pushed above freezing on New Year’s Day. Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow, Alaska, soared to a high of 36 degrees on Jan. 1.
Not only did this tie the town’s January all-time record high, but it also tied the warmest temperature for any date in more than five months between Nov. 12 and April 22, according to Rick Thoman, Climate Science and Services Manager with the National Weather Service’s Alaska region.
Even stranger, these above-freezing New Year’s Day temperatures occurred in the morning over virtually the entire North Slope of Alaska, thanks to southerly winds moving down the leeward slopes of the Brooks Range to the south.
This record warmth also required no sunlight. The sun hadn’t risen above the horizon in Utqiaġvik since Nov. 18 and wouldn’t do so again until Jan. 22.”

Russell R.
Reply to  Griff
January 5, 2017 9:52 am

In Fairbanks the forecast for tomorrow is -26*F, at sunrise 11:00AM. Practically the warmest winter ever…
Who needs a wood fire, when the Weather Service is keeping you warm with all those (pants on fire) warmest ever temperatures.

Bryan A
Reply to  Griff
January 5, 2017 6:03 pm

The January high of 36 in Barrow was in 1974 but the all time January High temperature was 54 back in 1930

January 5, 2017 3:12 am

Reading the actual article seems to present a different picture to this post..
There is a local pollution problem, recognised by local residents and there is a solution: cleaner burning stoves, for which financial support is available.
Key quotes not shown above:
“Some residents said they feared that an overreaching government, locally and in Washington, was out to take away their stoves. Others, like Dr. Olson, who works with racing sled dogs in her veterinary practice and volunteers with Citizens for Clean Air, a local group that has sued the E.P.A. to force a decision on Fairbanks pollution, said the exact opposite.”
““Both sides are digging in their heels,” said the borough’s mayor, Karl Kassel, who has been calling residents to chat about their heating systems and to urge them to upgrade, with financial help from the borough, to more efficient wood stoves. “We have been setting ourselves up for a crescendo.””
“Mr. Hamlin, the E.P.A. official, said his agency was definitely not trying to take away anyone’s wood stove, or make life more expensive.”

Russell R.
Reply to  Griff
January 5, 2017 9:57 am

So they are not going to fine anyone, just buy everyone “new wood stoves”. That clears it all up. Except the part about how people get new stoves, without “making life more expensive”.
“Financial support” is not the same as buying new stoves for those that need them. It means we get to choose who gets what, and if you don’t like your deal, you have a choice of “making life more expensive” through buying something new to replace what you already have, or paying a fine.

James Carpenter
January 5, 2017 7:06 am

not that long ago, every home and business in our country was heated with wood or coal in cold weather. Every single place, used coal or wood. Even though the population was smaller, the amount of smoke was much higher than today. So why wasn’t the climate affected?

January 5, 2017 10:26 am

Interesting. So the UK can cut down and burn every forest in the USA, to keep warm, but Americans cannot?? Where is the logic in that?
(I refer to Drax, a 4 gw power station in the UK that is now fired by wood pellets from the US.)

January 5, 2017 11:52 am

another issue is some (many/all ??) newer stoves reduce particulates by keeping chimney hotter. makes actual room heating away from chimney areas less efficient.
catch 22.

Retired Kit P
January 5, 2017 12:57 pm

“How did I advocate low income folks harming anyone?”
Written by the idiot who spent $3500 to burn down his house with his children in it.
Why? According to this idiot, to save money.
While there are sometimes unintended consequences to new policies, burning wood or coal for home heating is not new and still being used by billions of the worlds poorest.
The first problem is fire. The second problem is carbon monoxide poisoning. Collecting firewood can also be very dangerous. In North America and northern Europe, killer smogs are a thing of the past because of cleaner heating sources.
Personally, I enjoyed heating with wood. I learned about the hazards and mitigated the risk.
If you are doing something hazardous to save money, you are too stupid to actually save any.

Steve T
January 5, 2017 3:08 pm

Never mind the EPA going after the Alaskans, why don’t they threaten to reduce federal funding to California until they stop burning their forest fires thereby emitting loads of particulates of all sizes.
Double standards anyone? If this is a serious issue then surely any cost would be acceptable.
PS Do I need a sarc tag?
I haven’t tried to calculate any figures, but given the population of Alaska I would be surprised if their emissions could hold a candle to California’s emissions. See what I did there?

January 5, 2017 3:31 pm

Benjamin Thompson was born in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1753 and, because he was a loyalist, he left (abruptly) with the British in 1776. He spent much of his life as an employee of the Bavarian government where he received his title, “Count of the Holy Roman Empire.” Rumford is known primarily for the work he did on the nature of heat.
In England, he redesigned the open fireplace by making it wider, taller & more shallow, so that wood or coal would burn hotter & combust the smoke before it passed into the streamlined chimney. The shape of these fireplaces would radiate much more heat into the room; being twice as efficient as the fireplaces they replaced. Such fireplaces would be a boon in Alaska & are available in the US from Jim Buckley & the Superior Clay Corporation. http://www.rumford.com/
In the UK, we have one Rumford fireplace in the house & another much larger Rumford outdoors as part of our summer kitchen. It was straightforward to cast the concrete throats in situ. We use the fireplace to extend the BBQ season to all year round in the garden & it really blazes out the heat. I suspect that Rumfords would also be an answer to small particle pollution.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights