Air Quality

A sub-category of Toxic-Free Environments.


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 ...

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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 ...

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2019: Time to clean up diesel

2019 is the time to invest in a cleaner, healthier future for all Oregonians Diesel pollution is one of Oregon's greatest toxic air pollution problems, costing us billions in lost lives and health care costs across the state. Years ago, Oregon set a goal of reducing diesel pollution to meet the state's health benchmark. Today, we are only 2% of the way towards achieving our goal.  It doesn't have to be this way. Vastly cleaner engines have been available for a decade. It's time to get serious about addressing dirty diesel. Read more: 2019 BILL TO ADDRESS DIRTY ...

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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 ...

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Latinos Unidos Siempre: The power to create change

To Sandra Hernández- Lomelí, the future of environmental protection lies in empowering people to advocate for themselves.For too long, the Latinx community in Oregon has been disconnected from the environmental community, she explains. “I think there are a lot of people who would love to work on these issues. It’s about providing access.”Sandra is program director at Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS), founded in 1996 by youth in Salem to defend immigrant rights. Even deeper than any advocacy issue is the organization’s dedication to youth and their families....

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Cleaner air and construction for Portland

Today, Portland adopted “clean air construction standards,” a policy that will bring an end to the dirtiest diesel construction equipment on city-funded projects. They’ll start by restricting idling of heavy-duty diesel engines on construction sites, and move on to require cleaner engines. What great news for everyone who breathes in Portland! It’s a big deal because 65% of the toxic diesel pollution in the Portland area comes not from trucks, but from non-road engines: construction equipment like backhoes, excavators and lifts. Diesel is one of Oregon’s worst ...

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Salem Diesel Awareness Project

“There’s nothing better than seeing people come together for a cause,” says Antonio. He and a fellow student, Casandra (Cassie), practiced their leadership skills for a cause as interns with Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS) in 2018. Their challenge: uniting neighbors to understand air quality issues in Salem and to seek solutions.

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Where there’s smoke….

Oregon is feeling the devastation of California’s fires this November, and our friends and neighbors will need our help to recover. We’re also likely to feel the smoke here in Oregon.(See NY Times: How To Help Those Affected by the California Fires).The jet stream can carry smoke and particles from Western fires all the way across the country, according to NASA. When weather pulls that smoke out of jet stream and down to breathing levels, it can harm health hundreds of miles away from the fire. We’re grateful for doctors, nurses and caregivers who help people ...

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Untangling Measure 104

Hundreds of programs statewide that protect our favorite outdoor activities and our basic necessities, like air and water, rely on taxes and fees for those protections. But there’s a sneaky ballot measure on Tuesday’s election that threatens to do enormous harm to the Oregon Constitution

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Oregonians attend DEQ hearing to speak against EPA rollbacks

Dozens of concerned Oregonians left messages of opposition to proposals that would reverse environmental standards that protect our climate from greenhouse gases and communities from harmful air pollution during a public gathering in Portland.Organized by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Multnomah County after the federal administration refused to plan a public hearing in the state, the hearing included a court reporter so that residents, families, doctors, teachers and others could formally speak their concerns. Others left written statem...

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