chimney smog pollution
Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission chooses industry over communities to develop air pollution regulations

In my last blog post, I explained how the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was wrapping up it’s pre-rulemaking phase of cap and reduce workshops and Town Halls. The next step was for Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission (EQC)—who oversees DEQ's work—to decide who will be sitting on the cap-and-reduce rulemaking advisory committee (RAC). 

Unfortunately, the EQC has decided to stack the RAC with fossil fuel and big business interests.

This committee is supposed to provide guidance to DEQ as they develop regulations to get our state back on track addressing the climate crisis. However, big business and the fossil fuel industry have more seats on the committee than Tribes, environmentalists, scientists, public health experts, or frontline communities. While somewhat more balanced than industry-dominated RACs of the past (due your advocacy over the past year), this one still misses the mark.

We cannot allow big polluters to write their own regulations

Tell the Environmental Quality Commission that their rulemaking advisory committee needs to better reflect the communities impacted by pollution.

Click here to submit a comment

NOTE: Our friends at Renew Oregon are leading this write-in effort; clicking the button above will take you to their website.

Whether or not changes are made to the RAC, there’s a lot more work ahead in the new year to ensure polluters are held accountable to cleaning up their act without delays, exceptions, or loopholes. The formal cap and reduce program rulemaking will kick off in January.  The RAC will meet monthly from January to June to hammer out the details of the program and there will be multiple opportunities for public comment along the way.  

DEQ has set up a webpage where all of the rulemaking info will be housed and we’ll continue to keep you posted on how you can help move the ball forward in the new year.  For now, THANK YOU for all that you did this year to lay a strong foundation for the cap and reduce work ahead.

Author Bio

Zach Baker

former Oregon Policy Manager, Climate Solutions

Zach works to advance policies that address climate change and accelerate the transition to clean energy in Oregon. 

Zach brings to his work over a decade of policy and advocacy experience focused on protecting the environment and promoting public health.  His experience spans the local, state, and federal policy levels and he has served in a variety of capacities, including serving as a City Councilor in Corvallis, Oregon.  Immediately prior to joining Climate Solutions, Zach worked with the Center for Climate Change and Health to launch a national initiative to engage health professionals in state climate change policy. 

Zach holds a law degree from the University of Oregon with a focus in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and a BA from Tufts University in political science and community health. 

When he’s not advocating for climate policies, Zach enjoys riding his bike, hiking a trail, and enjoying Oregon’s agricultural bounty.