Oregon is a known leader in livability and sustainability. But our air is surprisingly dirty. According to the federal National Air Toxics Assessment, the Portland Metro region boasts the nation's 3rd largest population at risk of excess cancer due to toxic air emissions. And a 2008 study published by USA Today (The Smokestack Effect) revealed that 54 Oregon schools ranked in the worst 5% of school air quality nationally because they’re situated in industrial toxic hot spots. And dirty air is increasingly linked to bad health: a 2009 study found Oregon to be among the top five states with the highest percentage of residents living with asthma.
It’s an invisible crisis and we need immediate action from our state legislature to limit toxic emissions from industrial sources. Let’s live up to our state’s green reputation and lead the country toward a cleaner, greener future!
For almost three years, I worked with parents of Portland Public School’s Chapman Elementary School to lead an effort to reduce toxic emissions from nearby ESCO Steel, after discovering the school ranked in the bottom 2% in the nation due to industrial air pollution. In November 2011, we signed a Good Neighbor Agreement that has the potential to reduce the company's toxic emissions by up to 20%. These emissions include known dangerous substances like lead, manganese, arsenic and chromium 6. This work was covered in a front page article in The Oregonian: Where there's smoke, there's ire
But we can't protect our children through time-consuming advocacy directed at one polluter at a time -- not when the Portland Metro region alone is home to hundreds of industrial facilities.
We are counting on our Governor and state representatives to better protect Oregon’s children from the toxic emissions emitted daily by industrial polluters into the air our children breathe.
Our petition asks:
When sources of toxic pollution apply for a new or renewal air pollution permit, the state should require them to provide a robust, independent and objective audit of emissions and emission control strategies. Based on that audit, the source should be required to propose and implement specific toxics reduction strategies.
Oregon has the opportunity to be a leader in clean air by adopting more health protective limits on toxic air emissions. The current legal limit is simply not strong enough. Please sign this petition NOW to let key state decision makers know that we want them to make our air clean and safe for all the children in Oregon.