108 results for author: Jen Coleman


April showers bring…floods?

April is bringing more than a few showers this year! Record-setting rains in Eugene are adding to floods along the Willamette River far later in the spring than is typical. We can expect more flooding in the years to come, as climate change delivers sea level rise, more intense storms and higher winter stream flows. For OEC, this means encouraging communities across the state to invest in ways to manage stormwater. This means keeping toxic stuff off our streets, out of rivers and—ultimately—protecting our the drinking water. Rain behaves differently when it runs off rooftops and paved surfaces, gathering speed and intensity, instead of ...

Who cares about diesel pollution?

Dozens of Oregonians turned out to testify on the dirty diesel bill (HB 2007) in March. The crowd prompted  lawmakers to extend the public hearing over two days. The bill’s sponsors and other champions made it clear: old engines pose a big health threat, and it’s time to get serious about replacing them with far cleaner solutions. Legislators also heard from people arguing against a deadline to retire old, dirty engines. The health, justice and environmental arguments for cutting diesel pollution are impossible to ignore—but will legislators agree that health is top priority? Only if we keep reminding them. Make your voice heard ...

Top tips to green your wardrobe

Do you own about 70 garments? Do most of them last you less than a year? If so, you are about average for an American today. If you own half that number of garments and keep them for 3-5 years, you’re closer to the American average 15 years ago. This growth in clothing manufacture and use is no small thing. From the energy, water and pesticides used to the dyes and solvents in wastewater, making clothing can be a polluting business. With only about 15% of clothing donated for re-use, the waste adds up to tens of millions of tons in incinerators or landfills each year. Changing this trend will take change in the industry. Manufacturers must ...

Diesel pollution and health

Diesel exhaust is costing Oregon billions of dollars each year in health care costs, lost lives and missed work and school. “In pediatrics, we want to prevent kids from getting sick. We are asking parents to take individual action. But there’s nothing we can do to get them to prevent exposing their kids to air pollution. It’s only good public policy that can help protect kids in that way.” — Dr. Paul Lewis, MD, MPH; Tri-County Health Officer Diesel exhaust consists of particles and gases including 44 toxic substances. At least 80% of diesel exhaust is microscopic sooty particles so small that, when inhaled, they can enter the bloodstr...

Diesel and air quality

Why do we need to act now to reduce diesel pollution from heavy-duty engines? Because it's not only one of Oregon's biggest air quality problems—it contributes to all of them.  According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's 2017 Air Quality annual report, Oregon's "air pollutants of greatest concern" are: Ground-level ozone (smog):  Diesel engines are responsible for 49% of NOx (a smog-forming pollutant) from transportation. Heavy duty vehicles are the largest source of NOx emissions in Oregon. Ozone is created when NOx and VOC pollutants meet high temperatures and sunlight. According to Diesel Technology Forum, one diesel ...

New report: Oregon fails on diesel

This month, Oregon’s cross-agency team of experts made it very clear: None of our current efforts to reduce diesel pollution have worked, or will work, to meet our state’s goals for protecting human and environmental health. "Diesel emissions impacts to human health and the environment are not being adequately addressed by the DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] or through Toxics Reduction Strategy planning.” This matter-of-fact statement, and details about Oregon’s diesel problem, are part of a newly updated toxics reduction strategy presented to the Environmental Quality Commission in January 2019. The strategy is designed to work ...

Forever and blue jeans

I love my jeans, and wear them until they are no longer socially acceptable. But even then—it just doesn’t seem right to throw them in the trash. So I have piles of old denim waiting to become the next—what? Just this week, our Climate Program Director here at OEC mentioned a cool innovation: a company collecting old jeans to make building insulation. Wow! My jeans can get new life as an energy-efficiency tool. And because my job is finding ways to reduce toxics in the environment, I very much like this alternative to insulating materials that contain toxic ingredients. (See this handy comparison of insulation choices by the Green Home ...

Decades of diesel

Oregon's path to clearing the air of diesel pollution is a long one, but 2019 is the year to get serious about solutions. Check out our timeline for the policies—and missed deadlines—that have led us to this moment of change.

Green tips for the season of giving

Joy, peace and jolly to you! Here at Oregon Environmental Council, we believe in the power and health benefits of celebration. We also believe the "season of giving” includes giving people the tools they need to act on their environmental values. In that spirit, we offer these green living tips for the holiday season: It’s a frustrating reality that children’s products still contain toxic chemicals (read more about how we're working on this)! There are a number of resources that identify kid's toys that avoid plastics, adhesives, and other components likely to contain toxics. Here are a couple of resources: Huffington Post Gentle Nursery...

Accurate labels, or cover-up?

Just as Oregon begins to find out how toxic chemicals occur in children's products, a federal bill was proposed to block that information. The American Chemistry Council and other industry groups are behind the 2018 "Accurate Labels Act" ( H.R. 6022/S. 3019). Oregon's own Representative Schrader sponsored the bill. Though the bill did not come to a vote in 2018, industry groups continue to rally support for the concept. We haven't seen the end of this effort to block public information. The "Accurate Labels Act" proposed to re-write the 1967 "Fair Packaging and Labeling Act." Instead of giving consumers information they need to make ...