Q&A: Protect Oregonians from climate pollution

What can Oregon Environmental Agencies to do to protect Oregonians from climate pollution?

Q&A: Why Does DEQ Need to Re-Think and Improve Its Proposed New Rules for Big Polluters?

What is this issue about?

Oregon is home to many sources of greenhouse gas pollution, large and small. Oregon DEQ has been tasked with regulating and reducing emissions from Oregon’s greenhouse gas polluters, calling it the “Climate Protection Program.” This rule will establish how much pollution people experience in their daily lives.

How Can A Person Speak Up About This?
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Power Past Fracked Gas Virtual Informational Workshop
How to write comments and get ready!

September 21, 2021, at 6 p.m. PST


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Speak Up
Virtual Public hearing #1: hosted by DEQ

Sept. 22, 2021, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT 

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Speak Up
Virtual Public hearing #2 hosted by the EQC

Sept. 30, 2021, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT 

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Take Action
Submit a short comment

Protect Oregonians from climate pollution.

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Submit Detailed Comments in Writing:
DEQ and EQC are accepting comments now!

You can submit detailed email comments.
You can also mail comments to: Oregon DEQ Attn: Nicole Singh 700 NE Multnomah St., Room 600 Portland, OR 97232-4100


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Get Informed
Read draft rules

You can read DEQ’s public notice and draft rules here (see right column of DEQ’s rulemaking web page). DEQ’s page will be updated also with links to join online hearings on September 22 and September 30.

Why does this matter? 

Their current proposal falls far short of protecting frontline communities from the impacts of climate-changing pollution, and Oregon DEQ still proposes to exempt Oregon’s top polluters from Oregon’s new greenhouse gas regulation program. The program would also establish rules that do not require industrial polluters to reduce emissions. These proposals would place the burdens of pollution on communities near and downwind from these facilities, including fracked gas power plants. DEQ proposes other significant loopholes and flexibility for polluters to avoid stringent controls on climate-changing pollution and the other air pollution that comes with it. 

How are the rules developed and implemented? 

Oregon DEQ proposes rules to address pollution. The Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) makes the final decision about the rules. EQC is the decider for how the rules are crafted, ultimately. Once in place, the rules guide how much climate-changing pollution DEQ allows. 

The process goes like this: 
  • DEQ proposes draft rules. 
  • The public is asked to comment (happening right now), with hearings on September 22 and September 30. EQC is also meeting on October 1 and may be open for comments for those who could not attend the first two hearings.
  • EQC will consider comments and propose final rules.
  • EQC expects to adopt final rules in 2021.

EQC is accepting comments right now at GHGCR2021@deq.state.or.us. Online hearings will be held on September 22 and September 30, 2021 (see below).  

What Changes Need to Be Made to Protect Communities?

Here is a summary of the key changes we’d like to see:

  • EQC should prioritize the reduction of climate changing pollution and co-pollution in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), lower income, rural and other frontline communities. DEQ has failed to meet the equity goals it set out in 2020 and early 2021.
    • The draft rules allow industrial polluters to continue to emit without having to reduce, or even cap, their greenhouse gas pollution over time. DEQ should change the rules to hold polluters accountable.
    • The draft rules give a free pass, entirely, to fracked gas power plants by exempting them from regulation. The rules also offer exemptions for other projects, such as the Jordan Cove LNG terminal. This is just wrong-headed, and it places significant pollution burdens on BIPOC and other frontline communities. DEQ fails to meet its equity goals by exempting so many polluters.
    • DEQ should seek more information and prioritize its equity goals rather than crafting rules that make more money for polluters.
  • EQC should change the rules to regulate fracked gas power plants. By exempting fracked gas power plants, DEQ locks in smog-forming pollution as well as climate-changing pollution.
    • DEQ claims that it is preempted from addressing pollution from fracked gas power plants by the interstate commerce clause. We disagree. Other states regulate greenhouse gas pollution, and
  • EQC should limit pollution from stationary sources, like large industrial facilities, fracked gas infrastructure, and LNG terminals. Example: right now, LNG terminals would be exempt. That’s illogical and unacceptable.
    • Stationary sources with emissions over 25,000 MT CO2e
      • 12 facilities in Oregon
    • Does not cover stationary source emissions from many activities combusting natural gas, diesel, propane
    • Does not cover emissions from the electric sector (ie fracked gas power plants)
    • The gaps in the program have a significant impact on people.
  • EQC should bolster rules in the Community Climate Investment (CCI) program to ensure that BIPOC and other frontline communities are able to access and benefit from the program. We are concerned that the current CCI Program has fixable flaws:
    • Onerous requirements for nonprofits
    • No requirements for 1:1 GHG reductions
    • DEQ does not require the prioritization of projects that benefit environmental justice communities or projects that have biggest emissions reductions
    • No sideboards to ensure funds benefit communities instead of corporations
    • Equity advisory committee criteria is extremely broad, could be easily captured by fossil fuel interests 


Contact: Dan Serres, Policy Coordinator, Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition dan@columbiariverkeeper.org 503.890.2441.  Or Laura Stevens, laura.stevens@sierraclub.org, 503-740-9078 (se habla espanol)

Take Action

Urge Oregon environmental agencies to make the “Climate Protection Program” live up to its name rather than being a free pass for dirty fracked gas.