Another reason for a health-first approach

For those in the know, Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 12.03.50 PMit’s old news that Precision Castparts has a decade-old history of violating laws with air and water pollution. But that’s part of the problem: not everyone is in the know.

This story makes it clear: Oregon must commit to strong leadership that makes the health of our communities top priority.

That means not only enforcing anti-pollution laws, but also seeking stronger solutions when those laws fail to protect our communities.

It means not only digging deep to uncover threats to our health, but also keeping communities informed about risks and involved in decision-making over solutions.

It means not only fining businesses when they pollute, but building incentives for businesses to stop pollution before it starts with less-toxic products and processes.

Oregon needs leaders who put the health of our communities as their first measure of success. And there’s no time like the present: let’s appoint a new director to the Department of Environmental Quality with the strength and know-how to put health first.

P.S. If you care about clean water, you recognize the same industry regulations need to be in place for clean air. Sign our pledge to put health first in air quality regulations.

 

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2 Replies to "Another reason for a health-first approach"

  • Ray Kinney
    April 21, 2016 (2:36 pm)

    Do not forget the role played by the state legislators, in setting the whole anti-investigatory attitude of state agencies for the regulatory actions, or inactions, toward emerging needs for accurate scientific unbiased assessment by the agencies. This information constitutes the eyes and ears of public health status and trends to protect all citizens and visitors to the state, a VERY important job. The agencies cannot do due diligence in providing good accurate unbiased data for this essential function, because legislative politics dictates what the legislature will allow, or will not allow, the agencies to do. Any department program needs funding to continue, legislators control that funding. If the agency displeases legislators while doing their job, they have to live in fear of punitive funding cuts to other good work that they are doing. Agencies do not have the backing from the state legislators to accomplish their essential job of contaminant pollution sampling, analysis, and unbiased assessment. This puts strong pressure on the agencies to bias the results toward never showing an emerging public health problem in time for prudent corrective decision-making and actions for public health protections. To justify their jobs, agencies are forced to do ‘busy-work’ non-essential environmental ‘assessment’ that has little chance of discovering any potential problem. This pervasive institutional biased approach to information-gathering corrupts the state ability to properly inform the public health system, and at times, leads to outright falsification of results to avoid legislative displeasure. This type of institutional state irresponsibility is done in every state to varying degrees… but makes a mockery of regulations such as the Clean Water act and the Clean Drinking Water Act, harming the ability of public health protections with subsequent massive expenses seen with the Flint public health crisis, the Portland Oregon air and drinking water pollution problems, and similar degradations elsewhere. The problem is exacerbated by the federal agencies being stymied from doing the jobs we hire them to do by the same irresponsible biases placed on them by Congress. The public loses, the political lobbies for industrial pollution gain, and the politicians gain election funding. The system is broken by shortcomings of legislator character. What were the voting decisions of the legislators, that set up this system to fail? Who votes against the ability of the agencies to do the jobs that we hire them to do for public health protection?

    • admin
      April 21, 2016 (4:50 pm)

      Thanks for that important perspective. OEC agrees that holding legislators responsible and ensuring adequate funding for agencies is an essential piece of the puzzle.