Submit Testimony for SB 488

Covanta Incinerator in Brooks, OR

On Tuesday, March 7th at 1:00, Senate Bill 488, will be heard in Oregon’s Senate Energy, and Environment committee. 

This bill would enhance regulation of waste incineration in Oregon to better protect the environment and human health. Waste incineration pollutes soils, rivers and air with heavy metals and toxic chemicals where they can harm human health and wildlife.

The Covanta Marion waste incinerator is known to be one of the top 20 polluting industries in Oregon, emitting hundreds of toxins that are known to be injurious to human health. The incinerator burns thousands of tons of imported out of state medical waste, and due to a loophole in regulations, it is not subject to emission standards for medical waste incinerators, but rather the lower standards applied to municipal waste incineration. SB 488 would close that loophole and permit the State to regulate the facility as a medical waste incinerator which would better protect the environment and human health of the surrounding communities.

SB 488 will close the regulatory loophole in Oregon’s air quality laws. If passed, SB 488 will give the Department of Environmental Quality the authority to accurately assess how many tons of medical waste is burned annually at a trash incinerator facility and, if the specified weight limits are exceeded, apply the stricter emission limits required for medical waste incinerators under federal law. 

Take action: submit your testimony to support SB 488. Written testimony is accepted until 48 hours after the hearing (meaning it's due by 1:00 pm on Thursday, March 9th). 

Child Care Center near Covanta Incinerator

Possible talking points to include: 

  • Environmental Justice: Rural, BIPOC and Agricultural communities in the mid-Willamette Valley are being exposed to heavy metals and dozens of hazardous air toxics created from burning out of state and out of country imported medical waste burned at the Covanta Marion incinerator. This puts the burden of other states’ and country’s unwanted waste pollution on these communities. 
  • Dangerous to Human Health: Waste incineration creates and releases harmful chemicals and pollutants into the air and surrounding environment. Particulate matter in the air has been shown to cause lung and heart disease, heavy metals such as lead and mercury which can cause neurological diseases and PFAS and dioxins which can cause cancer and other health problems.
  • Dangerous to the Environment: A lot of the particulate matter and air pollutants that are emitted into the air and surrounding environment do not break down and disappear, instead they accumulate in the surrounding soil and water. Air particulates released spread to nearby communities making the impact of these pollutants far reaching. 
  • Makes Oregon a dumping ground: Without proper regulation the trend of importing dangerous medical and hazardous waste into Oregon from out of state will only continue to grow as it has the last 30+ years. SB 488 makes sure that Oregon has strong air emission limits that will guide waste incineration policies into the future and make sure that Oregon doesn’t become the go to dumping ground for dangerous medical and hazardous waste in the country. 

When submitting testimony make sure to choose support as your position on the bill.

Submit your testimony to support SB 488 now to send a clear message: Don’t turn Oregon into a trash dumping ground! 

If you need support submitting or writing testimony please reach out to Carina at [email protected]