Medford, OR—State air quality regulators and health experts will hold an informational meeting and hearing on Wednesday Nov. 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Medford Ramada Hotel and Conference Center at 2250 Biddle Rd. The meeting is open to the public.
At this meeting, staff from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Health Authority will provide information and take formal public comments on proposed new rules to regulate industrial air toxics and reduce the impact these pollutants have on the health of Oregonians.
The proposed Cleaner Air Oregon rules would set health risk limits on pollutants that industrial facilities emit so that neighbors and vulnerable people (such as children) are protected from potentially harmful levels of exposure.
The Cleaner Air Oregon rule-making process was launched by Governor Kate Brown in April 2016, after communities around the state raised concerns about their exposure to potentially harmful heavy metals, chemicals and other pollutants from factories and other industrial sources.
The proposed Cleaner Air Oregon rules would close gaps in the state's existing air quality rules that can create health risks for families and communities. Oregon's current rules are based on federal law. These rules can allow industrial facilities to release potentially harmful amounts of air toxics, but still operate within legal requirements. Washington, California and 22 other states have closed these gaps by adopting health risk limits on industrial pollutants. The proposed Cleaner Air Oregon rules build on the lessons learned from other states.
The Cleaner Air Oregon rules have been drafted to provide businesses with predictable and flexible air quality rules so Oregon industries can remain competitive in a global economy. The rules would focus on the highest risk sources first. They would have limited impact on low-risk businesses and small businesses. They would allow flexibility for companies faced with financial hardships and provide more time to meet the rules' standards.
The rules were developed by the state based on input from national experts and a 23-member advisory committee of Oregonians, which included scientists, physicians, community representatives, large and small business owners, local health officials, labor representatives, environmental justice advocates and others.
Members of the public have until Dec. 22 to submit comments. Oregonians can submit their input online at the Cleaner Air Oregon website (http://cleanerair.oregon.gov), or at upcoming public hearings.
There will be additional public hearings around the state about the draft rules where you can learn more and provide comments. The places, dates and times for the remaining public hearings are:
• Coos Bay: Thursday, Nov. 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Coos Bay Library, 525 Anderson Avenue
• Corvallis: Monday, Nov. 20, 5:30-8 p.m., Walnut Community Room, 4950 NW Fair Oaks Dr.
• Pendleton: Tuesday, Nov. 28, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Pendleton Library, 502 SW Dorion Ave.
• Portland: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 5:30-9:30 p.m., Portland Community College SE Campus, Community Hall, 2305 SE 82nd Ave.
• Portland: Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
• Eugene: Thursday, Dec. 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m., location TBD
• Salem: Friday, Dec. 8, Time TBD, Department of State Lands building, 775 Summer St. NE, Suite 100
Cleaner Air Oregon website: http://cleanerair.oregon.gov/
Robb Cowie, Oregon Health Authority, 503-421-7684, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine Benenati, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 541-686-7997, email@example.com