"PGE’s proposal to increase harmful pollution is a serious environmental justice issue and is a danger to public health and our shared environment,” -Kate Murphy, Columbia Riverkeeper
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thousands Submit Comments in Opposition To PGE’s Request to Increase Pollution at Carty Generating Station
Boardman, OR (December 16, 2021)—The Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) stunning proposal to increase harmful air pollution at a Portland General Electric (PGE) fracked gas power plant met fierce opposition from public health and environmental advocates. On December 17, the public comment period closes on PGE’s request for a massive increase in harmful pollution at the Carty Generating Station—a 440 megawatt fracked gas power plant located in Boardman, Oregon. Over the course of the comment period, community members and activists submitted thousands of comments to DEQ in opposition to PGE’s request.
In addition to the thousands of comments submitted by individuals, Columbia Riverkeeper joined 14 other community and environmental justice organizations in calling on DEQ to deny PGE’s request. The groups highlighted the significant threat this pollution increase will place on surrounding communities—which are disproportionately low-income and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities—and urged DEQ to take aggressive action to reduce Carty’s emissions limits and protect surrounding communities from increased exposures.
“PGE’s proposal to increase harmful pollution is a serious environmental justice issue and is a danger to public health and our shared environment,” said Kate Murphy, Community Organizer with Columbia Riverkeeper. “Thousands of community members have spoken up in opposition and DEQ is obligated to protect our communities and our air from this threat. The science is in and the focus must be on aggressive pollution reductions—not clearing the way for more harmful pollution.”
PGE’s request for a permit modification proposes an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide by 300% and in volatile organic compounds by 800%—both of which have negative effects on public health and the environment. Volatile organic compounds are a precursor to the formation of low-level ozone (smog), which is a powerful respiratory irritant.
“The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and its communities are plagued by air pollution from several sources, including the Carty Generation Station,” said Peter Cornelison, Friends of the Columbia Gorge Field Representative and Hood River resident. “The Oregon DEQ must carry out its mandate to improve air quality in the Columbia Gorge and deny PGE’s request to increase its pollution.”
“The level of pollution in the air that Carty already emits hurts our communities. Kids, communities of color, Tribal and Indigenous communities, farmworkers, outdoor workers, Latinx communities, low-income folks, elderly and people with disabilities have all already been impacted by the toxic fumes, the dirty smog that infects our lungs when we’re trying to work, play and live in the Columbia River Gorge. If our Department of Environmental Quality decides that it’s okay to let our power company [PGE] emit 300%, 800% more emissions, our kids and frontline communities will suffer. In fact, we will all suffer. The Oregon Just Transition Alliance, a movement of communities organizing for racial, economic and climate justice has a simple message for DEQ: say NO,” said Simone Crowe, Oregon Green New Deal Policy Organizer, Oregon Just Transition Alliance
DEQ has a critical decision to make about Oregon’s future and to ensure that industry is held accountable for the pollution they create. Our communities deserve it. Deadline for comments is December 17, 2021.
- Technical Comments on Carty's Proposed Air Permit Modification, submitted by Earthrise Law Center
- Public Comments on Proposed Air Contaminant Discharge Permit No. 25-0016-ST-02 for Portland General Electric’s Carty Generating Station
- DEQ Public Notice
- Additional Information
Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Columbia Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization with over 16,000 members who live, work, and recreate throughout the Columbia River Basin.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge shall vigorously protect the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge. We fulfill this mission by ensuring strict implementation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act and other laws protecting the region of the Columbia River Gorge; promoting responsible stewardship of Gorge land, air, and waters; encouraging public ownership of sensitive areas; educating the public about the unique natural values of the Columbia River Gorge and the importance of preserving those values; and working with groups and individuals to accomplish mutual preservation goals.
The Oregon Just Transition Alliance (OJTA) is a movement of communities facing environmental racism, climate change, and economic exploitation – the frontlines of injustice and the frontlines of change. We bring together organizations committed to base-building in frontline communities. We gather to create ownership over our collective future and move Oregon toward an economy that is rooted in our shared values, the principles of a Just Transition.
Technical Comments on Carty's Proposed Air Permit Modification, submitted by Earthrise Law Center