The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (Oregon DEQ) is in the early stages of creating a new greenhouse gas emissions program. The goal: a major decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s largest stationary sources. Noticeably absent from the program: fracked gas power plants.
The six largest single greenhouse gas polluters in Oregon are fracked gas power plants. Yet DEQ plans to exempt these facilities from regulation under its so-called “Climate Protection Program.” And, although one of DEQ’s top priorities is to alleviate burdens on environmental justice communities, the agency isn’t currently planning to study the community level data that would identify what these specific burdens are.
Please help us take action by contacting Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and tell them to correct course by covering Oregon’s biggest climate polluters and quantifying the impacts of pollution on frontline communities.
Subject Line: Oregon DEQ greenhouse gas rulemaking must cover fracked gas power plants and measure impacts to environmental justice communities
Sample email message:
Dear Governor Kate Brown, Director Richard Whitman, and Commissioners,
I am a member of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, a statewide nonprofit organization of health professionals and public health advocates. I have major concerns about the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s proposed 2021 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program. This so-called “Climate Protection Program” is poised to exempt the state’s largest greenhouse gas emitters from regulation—fracked gas power plants—and instead places the burden for achieving emissions reductions on smaller facilities. Excluding Oregon’s large polluters will result in an ineffectual program that cannot meet the state’s climate goals and ignores the significant health harms these facilities pose to frontline communities.
Additionally, one of Oregon DEQ’s stated goals is to “prioritize equity by promoting benefits and alleviating burdens for environmental justice and impacted communities,” yet the modeling Oregon DEQ plans to undertake will largely overlook the impacts to these communities. How can the agency expect to alleviate the burdens on frontline communities if it doesn’t have a firm understanding of exactly what those burdens are?
I strongly urge Oregon DEQ to reverse course now, before the rulemaking process proceeds much further. The agency simply cannot expect to develop a meaningful “Climate Protection Program” that protects frontline communities by exempting the largest climate polluters in the state and failing to thoroughly investigate the burdens on those communities. Oregon DEQ should cover fracked gas power plants and make measuring and eliminating the impacts on frontline communities—rural, low-income, coastal, and communities of color—the top priority.