In December, a coalition of 20 leading environmental and social justice organizations submitted a petition to Oregon policymakers to establish regulations for toxic diesel emissions from indirect, or non-road, sources -- such as construction sites, distribution centers, and railyards.
Why Indirect Source Matters
An Indirect Source of air pollution is a land-use activity or development that concentrates emissions from mobile sources such as cars, trucks, construction equipment, or locomotives. As a result of the federal Clean Air Act’s preemption provisions, Oregon has limited authority to directly regulate emissions from both new and existing non-road vehicles and engines, such as off-road construction equipment, and Oregon’s clean air laws lag behind nearly every other state when it comes to diesel.
States are not restricted from adopting indirect source rules that regulate the aggregate emissions produced by on-road or non-road mobile sources within the boundaries of an indirect source. An indirect source is a physical location that attracts or may attract mobile sources of air pollution. Buildings, parking lots, construction sites, highways, ports, and rail yards are all examples of indirect sources of air pollution.
Toxic diesel emissions harm people’s hearts, lungs, and brains, and youth are especially vulnerable. These emissions contribute to cancer risk, as well as heart disease and heart attacks, asthma attacks, reduced lung growth in children, birth anomalies and autism, and more. In Oregon, diesel pollution exceeds the state’s health benchmark in 23 of 36 counties across the state, exposing most Oregonians to toxic emissions. And those in the greater Portland region breathe diesel at levels 4-8 times higher than the state’s health benchmark.
SuBmit Written Comments by 2/14
Air quality is an environmental justice for people of color, youth, older adults, and low-income Oregonians living on the frontlines and fencelines next to these "indirect sources"; our communities experience a greater impact of toxic diesel emissions, but this IS an issue that Oregon can begin to address through indirect source rulemaking.
As a result of the petition, the Oregon Departemnt of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is now asking for public comment on the petition to the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt rules that regulate Indirect Sources of air pollution.
Read our comment letter (PDF), and provide your own written comments until Friday, Feb 14th via email to: ISPComment@deq.state.or.us. (DEQ suggests commenters include “ISR Comment” in the email subject line.)
Our work on Diesel regulation
Read more about our work on diesel regulation in our 2019 Oregon Legislative Session Recap.