Directs DEQ to implement health-based air toxics program
Portland—The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission voted 5 to 0 on Thursday to approve Cleaner Air Oregon rules that establish statewide health-based emissions limits for specific pollutants emitted by facilities. The rules also close gaps in the state’s existing air quality rules that can create health risks for families and communities that live and work nearby.
Gov. Kate Brown launched the Cleaner Air Oregon initiative in April 2016 in response to community concerns about exposure to potentially harmful air toxics emissions not regulated under federal or state law.
“Today’s vote marks the most significant step towards ensuring Oregonian’s right to clean air in 30 years,” said Governor Brown. “We reached this milestone by working together in partnership and with an unwavering commitment to protecting the health of Oregonians. We delivered a program that breaks new ground in protecting the air we breathe. There is more work to be done, and together we can work towards cleaner air in Oregon.”
In addition to closing gaps in existing air quality rules, Cleaner Air Oregon rules will provide the public greater access to air toxics emissions data and create more certainty for regulated facilities in addressing community health concerns.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Health Authority presented rules to the commission after an extensive two and a half year public process with 2 formal comment periods and 11 public hearings across Oregon. In addition, national experts and a 23-member advisory committee of Oregonians provided input. The agencies also convened a fiscal advisory committee to review the potential economic impact of the proposed program. .
“Today is a good day for Oregon. This was a long public process that involved community groups, industry, health experts and many concerned Oregonians,” Commission Chair Kathleen George said. “I commend the effort by DEQ and OHA to deliver an unprecedented level of community engagement to ensure we are implementing a program that protects Oregon’s communities.”