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Mar-19-2014 10:29printcomments

Oregon's Dirty Engine Problem

Oregon Governor: Stop Oregon from being the DUMPING GROUND of dirty DIESEL engines.

(PORTLAND) - As our neighbors on the West Coast push for stronger emission reductions and reduce the legal use of older diesel engines, it is time for action. Oregon is already becoming the dumping ground of these outlawed diesel engines, based on DEQ calculations showing a current attrition rate of 4%, or half of what is expected. We need our leaders to restrict the use of older diesel engines, and quit relying on voluntary action. New diesel engines emit 99 percent less soot than engines manufactured 25 years ago. Why we’re in this unfortunate position is a political, not a technological, problem.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that diesel exhaust in Oregon causes some 250 premature deaths a year – which means more Oregonians die from diesel exhaust than from murder and drunken driving combined. Which is not only tragic (and preventable), but incredibly expensive: DEQ estimates the cost of this to be up to two billion dollars lost every year to premature death, disease, and lost work days.

According to a 2013 study by Multnomah County Health Department, diesel emissions are the leading risk to human health of the 15 substances the DEQ identified in the Portland Metro airshed that exceed the “acceptable” risk level to cause cancer in humans. In other words, the worst of the worst. In addition to that, the black soot associated with it is a chief contributor to climate change.

Diesel is particularly problematic because its ultra-fine particles can travel deep into the lungs and can even pass from the lungs into the bloodstream. Long-term exposure to diesel emissions is linked to both lung and bladder cancer. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of diesel pollution because their lungs are still developing and they breathe, on average, 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than do adults.

Said differently, limiting diesel emissions will lower the risk of cancer.

It is disgraceful that Oregon has the least protective diesel standards on the west coast. Oregon should be pursuing legislation to catch up to our cleaner neighbors. Why we’re in this unfortunate position is a political, not a technological, problem. One easy step is to adopt California’s more health protective diesel emission programs on-road and non-road, as we were green lighted to do when EPA approved the California programs. Instead, Oregon leaders appear content to sit back while our state becomes the dumping ground for older, dirtier engines being outlawed and cast off by our greener neighbors to the north and south.

We need your voice to demand better!

Sign Mary's Petition



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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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