Oregon Needs You to Speak Up For Its Air Quality
OEC is one of 21 petitioners to petition the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for new rules (called the “Indirect Source Rule”) on toxic diesel emissions. The petition was authored by Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School, and Neighbors for Clean Air. DEQ is allowing for our petition to move forward, finding that it is necessary to limit the air contaminants coming from mobile sources and is taking public comments until February 14, 2020. Based on these comments, the agency may finalize a rule accepting the petition, alter the rule, or reject the petition.
What is the Indirect Source Rule?
An Indirect Source Rule is a regulation that aims to improve air quality by requiring an “indirect source” to reduce aggregate emissions from all mobile sources that come to or operate on that source. An “indirect source” is a location that attracts mobile sources of air pollution, such as a construction site with construction equipment and trucks that moving construction materials in and out, parking lots that attract cars and trucks, and marine terminals. The state has one outdated Indirect Source Rule which applies to certain counties of the state limiting emissions in construction sites that plan to build 800-1,000 or more parking spaces.
What would the proposed Indirect Source Rule do?
If our petition is granted, a new Indirect Source Rule would require all large construction projects (10,000 square feet or more) and new parking lots being built (500 spaces or more) to obtain an operating permit before commencing construction. These permits would limit the amount of emissions that their project can emit, and the permit holder would have to choose mitigation tools to curb their emissions. Examples of mitigation tools include switching to cleaner construction equipment, using electric vehicles, and reducing construction vehicle idling to reduce greenhouse gases and diesel pollution.
How does this rule complement the diesel bill passed in 2019 (HB 2007?)
Oregon’s diesel bill is a great start to curbing diesel emissions (it requires the phaseout of older heavy-duty and medium-duty truck diesel engines in the Portland metro area and some cleanup of construction equipment on major publicly funded projects). However, the law does not apply statewide, and it does not do enough to clean up construction equipment. Adoption of a new Indirect Source Rule would complement the current law and curb emissions faster.
We need your support!
Vehicle pollution causes great harm to the health of Oregonians and to our climate. Adopting the Indirect Source Rule would reduce these health and environmental impacts. The DEQ needs to hear from you, the public, that you support this rule!