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Green Energy Institute

Deconstructing Diesel Happy Hour a Success

March 22, 2018

More than 100 attendees from government agencies, local advocacy groups, and concerned citizens packed the event space at Swift on March 21 to discuss strategies to reduce diesel emissions in Oregon. The night began with a presentation from Dr. Linda George, Professor of Environmental Sciences and Management at Portland State, detailing the possibly unique toxicity of diesel particulate matter, and the way it can remain in and cause damage to the human body. She also explained how her direct research regarding localized and time-variable diesel concentrations links diesel emissions from construction sites and supports DEQ’s 2017 research demonstrating that Portland suffers from exposure to elevated diesel pollution.

GEI then presented regulatory options to reduce diesel emissions, particularly from older diesel engines. Melissa Powers and Amelia Schlusser briefed the audience on Clean Air Act preemption and ways that state and local government can act to reduce diesel pollution today, without further Oregon legislative action. Amelia explained how regulation in California is resulting in older, dirtier diesel sources moving into Oregon, and she showed how various strategies, including clean fleet requirements, time-of-use regulations, and restrictions for non-road sources, could all contribute to cleaner air. “We should be willing to protect our own public health and stop those [dirty] engines from entering our state,” said Melissa Powers.

 Former State Senator Jackie Dingfelder then facilitated a panel of elected officials including Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Metro Councilor Sam Chase, State Senator Michael Dembrow, and State Representative Rob Nosse, who discussed previous and continued attempts at diesel regulation, the political and funding challenges, and the need for continued pressure on our government bodies to act. Read the full story from Multnomah County here.


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