It’s not too late for clean air
“The state choked on its own exhaust.”
—Oregonian editorial board
Let’s be frank. When it comes to cleaning up Oregon’s air, we know the bill for Clean Engines, Clean Air could be stronger in curbing dirty diesel. But we can still cut back the toxic air pollution our kids are breathing with what’s left in these final days of session.
Ultimately, hearts and lungs across Oregon will suffer from a decision in Salem this year to ignore our dirty diesel problem. We should be outraged. But with time left this session, let’s move forward: let’s do all we can to make sure that children don’t suffer a lifetime of health harm from diesel exposure on school buses.
This year, Oregon lawmakers gutted and slashed a proposal to address an enormous public health burden: our state’s aging fleet of dirty heavy-duty diesel trucks, buses and construction equipment.
Not only did they fail to create a path towards cleaning up the old fleet—they failed to stop more old engines that spew toxic exhaust from being purchased in the state.
As the Oregonian editorial board put it: “Special interests won. Oregonians lost.” It’s a shameful failure that will give Oregonians little choice but to live with increased risk of cancer, heart attacks, stroke and asthma attacks.
Lawmakers have one last proposal this year that would make a big dent in an overdue promise: cleaning up school bus engines. Oregon set a deadline into law to upgrade old school buses, knowing that diesel can cause irreversible harm to children’s lungs and developing brains and bodies. Now, lawmakers can help make it possible to actually achieve those upgrades.
School buses are the very least we MUST do!
Oregon Environmental Council and our partners and friends will not let lawmakers ignore dirty diesel. We’ll keep fighting until people can breathe without risk of harm.
But today: let’s not fail to do the very least we can do.
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