These days there is a rarely a dull moment in the fight for clean air. In this week’s eNews we write to let you know about two local diesel pollution events, two important people, and three chances to speak up for clean air. We hope you are energized by all that is going on – we are!
3 CLEAN AIR EVENTS: 1 PAST, 2 FUTURE, ALL IMPORTANT!
Past | Senate Hearing on Health Impacts of Diesel Pollution
The first hearing on our priority issue was held this past week in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. It was an informational hearing (ie no public testimony) where lawmakers listened to expert, invited testimony about the harmful health impacts of diesel pollution. Two members of the five-person committee unfortunately did not attend: Senators Alan Olsen (R-Canby) and Herman Baertschriger (R-Grants Pass). The hearing audio will be available soon; listen here.
March 3-5th | Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
Every year in Eugene, environmental lawyers who work for the public interest gather in Eugene to learn, connect, and share resources so they can all return to their desks and fight the good fight a little smarter. This year, we are proud that our staff attorney Nick Caleb will be on a panel along with several colleagues from the impressive Crag Law Center of Portland to update folks about Oregon air law and regulations. If you’re not planning to attend, you can catch it all online. More here.
March 15th | Workshop: Putting Environmental Justice in the Fight for Clean Air
We are very pleased to be co-hosting an all-day workshop in Portland to bring clean air partners together to better understand and prioritize environmental justice in our work. We’ll meet from 9 AM to 4:30 PM on Wednesday, March 15th. Speakers include Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C. (EPA). Mr. Lee is widely recognized as a true pioneer in the arena of environmental justice, as the principal author of the landmark report, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States.
2 NEW DIRECTORS
New Director of Oregon DEQ
We welcome Richard Whitman to lead the Oregon DEQ, an agency that is ripe for inspired leadership with a commitment to environmental health. Mr. Whitman has served as Interim Director since Pete Shepherd, another Interim Director, moved on October 2016. More here about his appointment. We are hopeful that the agency will live up to what Oregonians need and want from it – namely better protection of our environment and our health, which are forever intertwined. We will push hard for it to be sufficiently funded to successfully carry out its work.
Welcome, Scott Pruitt, incoming U.S. EPA Director
Well, OK, we’re not feeling very welcoming, actually. All evidence suggest that Mr. Pruitt is no friend of the environment. In fact, his history as Attorney General in Oklahoma shows he was quite opposed to the kind of environmental protections that are essential for public health. With Pruitt in place at the national level taking direction from the anti-regulation Trump White House, it’s clear that states’ roles in environmental protection just got more important. So, while we won’t ignore what’s happening in Washington, DC, we will continue to target our work here at home where there is plenty of room for improvement. Here’s some background on Mr. Pruitt and his potential impacts on Oregon’s environment.
3 CHANCES TO USE YOUR VOICE FOR CLEAN AIR!
1. March 8th | Attend the public hearing on a bill to cut diesel pollution
Next Wednesday, March 8th our legislators will open the doors for a public hearing on a bill that would once and for all get rid of the dirtiest diesel engines polluting Oregonians’ health. Let’s show the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources how many Oregonians want clean air, not dirty diesel pollution! We’re for clean engines and clean air! And together we CAN accomplish both.RSVP now! Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll meet in the capitol rotunda at 2:45 PM.
2. Anytime | Tell your state representatives that you care about diesel pollution.
In this moment, if you don’t yet know who your state representatives are, it’s time! Just enter your address here to identify them, then ring them right up and let them know you support clean, healthy air and would like them to cut diesel emissions this session, thank you very much! Already know them, great! Remind them who you are and that you, too, care about healthy air for all Oregonians and urge them to take action to cut diesel emissions. This type of direct contact from you really, really matters.
3. March 23rd | Join the clean air group at the Clean Green Lobby Machine Day
Our great partners at the Oregon Conservation Network and Oregon League of Conservation Voters are co-hosting a lobby day for the environment later this month and we’ll be out strong for clean air. Can you join us? Find more info and how to signup right here.
Phew! That’s a lot going on, isn’t it? And while we know from personal experience that the fight for clean air is a marathon, not a sprint, right now we’re definitely doing some sprinting! Thanks for being along for the ride.