Portland Air Toxics Solution Advisory Committee Mtg #8 recap

As the PATSAC process rounds the corner to its finish line stretch, the work of the committee is definitely getting more interesting. At the last two meetings, the quality of DEQ materials has been impressive, including the detailed PATS 2017 Pollutant Modeling Summary presented at the January 25th meeting, and from this last meeting, the first phase of examining potential reductions, which focused on point sources.

I recommend you visit the PATSAC website to see all the available documents.

As we get closer to the end of the process, our unofficial quorum of community and public health advocates is beginning to work more closely together to ensure that strategies protective of public health are solidly included in the final document, and that issues of environmental justice are addressed, as it is widely understood that not only do low-income communities and communities of color bear a disproportionate burden of exposure, but often members of the community have limited access to resources to cope with the outcomes of the exposure.

This group, which includes neighborhood representatives like myself, and those from SE, North and NE Portland, Multnomah County Health, Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, and OPAL will continue to discuss how to maximize positive health impacts through the PATSAC recommendations.  That may sound obvious, but since PATS was charged with emissions reductions, it has been recognized that reducing health impacts might be tangential to reducing emissions.  But, as DEQ Air Quality Administrator Andy Ginsburg noted in a recent email exchange, the discussion beyond emissions reductions is both relevant and will likely be necessary as it is probably impossible to realize the reductions of some of the most harmful toxicants below the threshold of harmful health outcomes.  Per Andy’s email: “Where meeting the ABCs through emission reductions is not possible or feasible, I agree that it makes sense to quantify the gap and consider other approaches such as complimentary mitigation recommendations. I’m assuming that by mitigation we mean actions that are generally beneficial but either currently not measurable or not related to reducing emissions.”

The PATSAC is scheduled to meet monthly through July.  We will be going through all sources of emissions and seeing what reductions would be required to meet the benchmarks (ABC) and how that might be attributed to individual sources within each of the large sectors.

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