ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The federal government will help improve air quality in Fairbanks.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it’s granting $4 million to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to reduce fine particle air pollution.

The state agency will use the money for a woodstove change-out program operated by the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

DEC Commissioner Larry Hartig says the borough has made progress toward meeting national health standards and an important component has been the woodstove change-out program.

Hartig says EPA funding will allow Fairbanks to continue replacing high-polluting woodstoves with cleaner-burning heat sources.

The borough in winter regularly exceeds limits for fine particulate, which can cause premature death in people suffering heart and lung diseases.

Wood smoke contributes up to 80 percent of Fairbanks’ fine particle pollution.

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