• Oregon Air Toxics Program Reproposed
  • August 11, 2003
  • Law Firm: Perkins Coie LLP - Seattle Office
  • Oregon has reproposed rules establishing a state Air Toxics Program. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality first proposed the program in August 2002 and received more than 130 public comments. This reproposal reflects DEQ's response to those comments and solicits additional public input.

    While federal air toxic regulations are implemented in Oregon, they do not generally reduce air toxics from mobile or area sources. The federal regulations are primarily aimed at large industrial sources. The new state proposal is designed to address geographic concentrations of air toxics that may be present despite federal controls.

    The proposed program is intended to provide a framework for DEQ to:

    • determine concentrations of concern for air toxics
    • identify geographic areas having air toxics risks
    • develop and implement plans for reducing air toxic releases in geographic areas of concern.

    In addition, there is a "safety net" for identifying and controlling emissions from sources not included within a geographic planning area, but potentially visiting toxic air pollutants on its neighbors.

    Industrial sources are very concerned that they not be called upon to further reduce emissions because DEQ is unable to enforce limits on other sources. Industrial sources want reductions to come from sources in proportion to their contribution to discovered problem locations.

    For the purposes of this proposal, "air toxics" have been very broadly defined to include any pollutants that are known or suspected to cause serious health effects. This definition scope is not limited to currently regulated "hazardous air pollutants."

    The DEQ is accepting comments on the proposal until May 30, 2003. Public hearings have been scheduled between now and then in Bend, Medford, Eugene, LaGrande and Portland.

    Additional detail may be found on the air quality section of the DEQ Web site.