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Ordinances provide breathing space

As cold weather nears, the ever-ensuing issue of air quality becomes a strong and important talking point around Lakeview.

The Commissioners are ready to go forward with Ordinances 29 and 30 only after a few changes to the language written. These ordinances apply restrictions to the urban growth area of Lakeview in the time and manner residents are allowed to burn. Ordinance 29 will ensure that woodstove burning will be properly regulated while Ordinance 30 will focus on backyard burning.

The approval will be done in two public hearings where the current ordinances will be appealed and changed. These meetings will happen on Tuesday Aug. 19 and Sept. 2 giving the mandatory two weeks between each meeting. The ordinances will take effect and be enforced 90 days later, which will be in November.

These community regulations come from the Environmental Protection Agency’s PM Advance Program to help Lakeview achieve air quality standards. The legislative push came from when the Particulate Matter allowance was dropped from PM10 to PM2.5.

Commissioner Ken Kestner stressed how integral these ordinances are to the health of Lakeview residents and the economy of the county. “We (the Commissioners) are charged with the health of our citizens,” Commissioner Kestner said. He expressed concern for the health of the Lakeview people saying anxiety and depression are associated with low-quality air. He also said that respiratory issues with asthmatics and the elderly would be magnified if the problem persists.

Commissioner Kestner affirmed that the five years that Lakeview is allowed to reach below PM2.5 would be critical to its future. He said that the DEQ sanctions would cripple Cornerstone Minerals and Collins Sawmill causing the businesses to be driven away.

“If we don’t get a handle on this problem, the EPA will institute through DEQ sanctions that would damage Lake County and Goose Lake communities,” Commissioner Kestner said.

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