Oregon Legislature Passes Bill To Curb Toxic Diesel Exhaust

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Oregonians from Diesel Pollution

  • SALEM — In a 16-to-11 vote in favor of HB 2007, after a 44-to-15 vote in favor by the Oregon House, the Oregon Senate has passed a bill to protect the health of Oregonians from harmful diesel pollution.
    . HB 2007 requires the clean-up of old dirty diesel engines in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, where 44% of the state’s population lives.When diesel is burned, it emits fine particulate matter, NOx (a smog-forming pollutant), and 44 air toxics, such as benzene and acetaldehyde. This diesel exhaust is uniquely toxic; its human health toll includes cancer, heart disease and heart attacks, asthma attacks, reduced lung growth in children, birth anomalies and autism, male infertility and more. It is estimated to cause up to 460 premature deaths per year in Oregon.“Eleven years ago Oregon set a goal to reduce diesel pollution so that it would bring cancer risk below one in a million, but efforts to date have reduced less than 2% of the diesel pollution we would need to meet that health standard,” said Chris Hagerbaumer, Deputy Director of Oregon Environmental Council. “We applaud the state representatives and senators who understand that we must fast-track diesel cleanup.”

    “HB 2007 will expedite the purchase of new diesel engines that run as much as 95% cleaner, as well as accelerate the transition to cleaner fuels, like electricity, to power engines,” said Morgan Gratz-Weiser, Legislative Director of Oregon Environmental Council. “By setting a deadline for clean-up, the Oregon Legislature has given fleet owners the impetus to move quickly to protect the health of the communities they work in and travel through.” 

    HB 2007 will start diesel clean-up in the tri-county area (Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties) by requiring:

    • Engine standards for diesel-powered trucks: By 2023 all medium-duty trucks (e.g., delivery vans, garbage trucks) and heavy-duty trucks (e.g., big rigs) will be required to run on a 1997 or newer engine; and by 2029 medium-duty trucks will need to run on a 2010 or newer diesel engines, as well as publicly owned heavy-duty trucks. Trucks can also comply by switching to cleaner fuels or trapping pollution with special filters. 
    • Phase-out of resale of old diesel engines: After 2025, there will be no titling of medium-duty trucks running engines older than 2010 and no titling of heavy-duty trucks running engines older than 2007.
    • Clean construction: State-funded construction projects costing $20 million or more in the tri-county area will require 80% clean equipment, and construction equipment owners will be encouraged to display a sticker that shows the emissions profile of the engine.
    • VW settlement funds: Approximately $53 million will assist the trucks and equipment subject to clean-up, prioritizing applications that support cleaner fuels, and grant applicants running minority-owned, women-owned, service-disabled veteran owned businesses, disadvantaged business enterprises, or emerging small businesses.
    • Future success: A task force will develop new funding strategies to support businesses across the entire state in upgrading their fleets.
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2 Replies to "Oregon Legislature Passes Bill To Curb Toxic Diesel Exhaust"

  • Bee Holzapfel
    July 2, 2019 (7:45 pm)

    Glad it got passed. Sorry that some of the financial burden falls on truckers/companies but know that these costs will be passed on to general population. Better to pay now than in increased health costs.

  • Donna N.
    July 9, 2019 (12:00 am)

    The compromises that were made by Democrats on the diesel bill will dramatically limit its effectiveness, and reduce the health improvements for Oregonians. I have 4 major concerns: 1) nothing in the bill will stop trucking companies from simply moving their fleets to just outside of the three-county metro area, and then driving them all through and in the metro area. I predict many will do precisely that. 2) Why aren’t large trucks subject to the stricter 2029 rules? 3) Why only a voluntary sticker program, rather than a voluntary one? 4) Why didn’t the bill include a funding source for converting engines? Oregon had $800 million in unexpected tax revenues, and that’s not counting the $1.4 billion kicker rebate that Democrats foolishly failed to divert to fund direly needed public programs like this one.

    Remember: the Dems have a super-majority in both houses. This means that a number of corporate-friendly Democrats are responsible for massively weakening this diesel bill. Yes, it’s true that something is better than nothing, and I assume there will eventually be some improvement in air quality from the bill. But why does the Democratic leadership allow their members to serve the profit desires of the trucking industry, rather than the public health of their constituents? [This is similar to what happened with the climate bill (SB 2020): ultimately it was three corporate-friendly Democrats who killed the bill, not the GOP senators who unconscionably walked out.]

    More importantly, why is the health of children in Oregon state less valuable and important than that of kids in California or Washington?