Oregon’s DEQ Looks the Other Way on Diesel Emissions

In March, Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission voted to deny a petition that called for creating rules to regulate diesel emissions from construction sites, distribution centers, and other non-road sources.  

The petition proposed a new air pollution rule that would regulate diesel emissions and put a cap on toxic diesel emissions from non-road sources. However, the DEQ denied the petition, citing an insufficient amount of resources—less than they needed in order to take the actions called for in the petition.    

Instead, the DEQ said they should work on improving the programs they already have in place, and work to decrease gaps in current regulations. Oregon currently has multiple programs that work to reduce diesel emissions statewide, including the Clean Fuels Program, Vehicle Inspection Program and Clean Vehicle Standards and Rebates.   

“These are all programs that are in different stages of their implementation, some of these programs we have good data on over the years and have been able to monitor their impact,” DEQ’s Deputy Director Leah Feldon told OPB. Others given that they’re in their infancy we really don’t have good data to say what would be the on the ground impact and what kind of trends in reduction we can expect.” 

Some think this is a setback: Mary Peveto, the executive director of Neighbors for Clean Air, told OPB that the denial of the petition was a major setback to the health and welfare of Oregonians. The organization is currently trying to make the city of Portland take action on reducing diesel emission for non-road sources. 

“It’s basically saying the state is satisfied with continuing to allow unregulated diesel emissions that cause significant public harm and harm to our climate continue,” Peveto told OPB. 

By Tanveer Sandhu