Today, legislators are holding a public hearing on an issue that matters to every Oregonian: clean air. It’s an issue that is especially important to me, since I live in the Williams Corridor. Right by two major freeways, it’s where people who bike to and from work every day. And there are pollutants coming from the dirty diesel engines of our school buses, our transit buses, our delivery trucks, and our garbage trucks. But this is a fixable problem, which is why I’m writing to my legislator today, and encouraging you to do the same.
As Oregonians, you and I are part of a community that values clean air. But our air is not as clean as you might think. In many of our Oregon neighborhoods, toxic pollutants caused by diesel exhaust exceed state health benchmarks by twenty times or more. That’s not a standard we’re willing to accept.
Diesel emissions are at unhealthy levels in at least 23 Oregon counties, increasing the chances of lung damage, heart attacks, strokes, and infertility. By the time we smell diesel, it’s already in our lungs. And toxic air hits hardest on low-income communities and communities of color. That’s unacceptable. There should be no “unlucky” zip codes when it comes to toxic air!
Clean Engines, Clean Air (SB 1008) would end the purchase of old diesel engines, and set deadlines for replacement of existing dirty diesel engines. Plus, it incentivizes small engine owners to retire the dirtiest diesel. And now is the time – we can utilize the $73 million in funds from the settlement with VW.
New diesel engines can run 95% cleaner than older engines. But older engines can often run upwards of twenty years, which is why we need SB 1008 now. Every day we wait, diesel engines are spewing pollutants like black carbon into our lungs and our air -contributing to climate change and health care costs.
Tell your legislators: we need new diesel regulations now. We need Clean Engines, Clean Air (Senate Bill 1008).
Legislators are holding a public hearing on this critical bill TODAY, so please add your voice to the debate. Help us achieve cleaner air in every zip code.
Thank you for joining us in making a difference.