Community Toxics Reporting Act

Read our one-page SUMMARY->>

HB 2669 | Bill Title: Relating to community right to know regulatory programs.
Summary: Modifies requirements for local community right to know regulatory programs for toxic substances and harmful substances.  | The bill as introduced->>

SB 995 | Summary: Requires employer operating certain facility to submit annual materials  balance report on facility’s input and output of hazardous materials to  Department of Environmental Quality. Allows department to adopt rules  and impose civil penalty for violation. | The bill as introduced->>

The Problem
Oregon’s environmental protection agency does not collect detailed air and water pollution emissions data. They also don’t share the data with the public. The Community Toxics Reporting Act fills this gap. The bill creates opportunities for governments and people to know what pollution going into their air and water. Communities and public officials need this data to understand the location and risk levels of toxic chemicals that damage human health and the environment.

The Solution
Beyond Toxics and major clean air advocates in Oregon worked to demonstrate that it is critical to adopt the Community Toxics Reporting Act. Oregon legislators have created 2 versions of the bill: HB 2669 (sponsored by Representative Nosse and Senator Taylor) and SB 995 (sponsored by Senators Riley and Gelser) BOTH implement toxics reporting programs. The two bills are similar, but have a few important differences.


TAKE ACTION

Please attend the first open hearing: JOIN US in Salem for the first hearing for HB 2669, scheduled for Monday, March 20th at 3 PM in front of the House Committee on Energy and EnvironmentHearing Room D on the first floor of the Capitol Building in Salem. Call us for bus rides: 541-465-8860.

Please send an email to all 9 members of the House Committee On Energy and Environment to urge their strong support for HB 2669, the Oregon Toxics Reporting Act.

Chair Representative Ken Helm – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1434 | Email
Vice-Chair Representative Mark Johnson – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1452 | Email
Vice-Chair Representative Karin Power – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1441 | Email
Member Representative Phil Barnhart – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1411 | Email
Member Representative Cliff Bentz – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1460 | Email
Member Representative Deborah Boone – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1432 | Email
Member Representative Paul Holvey – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1408 | Email
Member Representative E. Werner Reschke – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1456 | Email
Member Representative David Brock Smith – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1401 | Email

Don’t forget to also write your own state legislators and urge their support. If you’d like to contact your state Senator (Senate) or Representative (House), but are unsure of who represents you, please look them up here: Find Your Oregon Legislator.

Talking Points:
1) As part of last year’s Clean Air Oregon initiative, the state government has set aside money to put air monitors in place across the state to measure air pollution emissions. The problem is simple: how do we know where to place those monitors if we have not FIRST established materials balance reporting to assure accurate data collection? 2) The money already allocated toward this effort would be better spent creating a statewide materials balancing reporting system, similar to what the City of Eugene established in 1998 for their toxics right to know ordinance.

Sample Phone Scripts and Sample Email Messages

Key point #1: A Local Toxics Reporting Program is more exacting and comprehensive than any other toxics reporting now required in Oregon.

Key points for your phone call:

• A comparison between a Community Toxics Right-to-Know Program, DEQ, the State Fire Marshal’s Program, and the EPA’s Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI), shows that each program has significantly different reporting requirements.
• A Toxics Reporting and Community Right-to- Know Program adds the greatest value added to the community because it is detailed and very specific to the community needing to access the data.

Key points for your email (Sample Letter):

Dear Chair Helm and Members of the House Energy and Environment Committee,

I support the passage of HB 2669 because it is the most comprehensive and accurate toxics reporting that the State of Oregon would have. A Toxics Reporting and Community Right-to- Know Program adds the greatest value added to the community because it is detailed and very specific to the community needing to access the toxics data. No other program helps communities and local governments know what is being emitted to all of the environmental media: air, water, land and hazardous waste dumps.

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Key point #2: Community Toxics Reporting and Right–to-Know is an environmental justice issue! All communities have the right to know what is in the air they breathe and the water they drink.

Key points for your phone call:

• State and federal agencies do not currently collect detailed air and water emissions data. They also do not make pollution data available to the public. Community Toxics Reporting fills this gap by providing public access to accurate data needed to protect local air and water and improve public health.
• Detailed, accurate toxic pollution data can be used to map toxics hot spots, calculate cumulative exposures and correlate pollution data with environmental health patterns. Communities that are endure an overburden of toxics exposures must have access to this information.
• Governor Brown issued a statement that calls out the need to support pollution-burdened, environmental justice communities. The best way to follow the Governor’s recommendation is to provide communities with exact and verifiable water, soil and air quality information. Governor Brown supports “providing Oregon families ready access to information about industrial emissions near their homes.”
• Oregon communities deserve full public engagement grounded in factual information that we can access in a straightforward manner. Access to reliable information informs community-level participation in decision-making about the livability of our neighborhoods.

Key points for your email (Sample Letter):

Dear Chair Helm and Members of the House Energy and Environment Committee,

Please support the passage of HB 2669, the Toxics Reporting Bill and Community Right to Know program. Exposure to toxics chemicals in air, land and water can damage human health and the environment. Toxics Right to Know serves to daylight toxic emissions to air, water and waste streams for better community health.

The Community toxics reports are can be used by the general public as well as environmental justice community members in the most impacted communities. If Portland had such a toxics reporting program, it would never have taken so long for the DEQ to “discover” where the heavy metals were coming from. Without any kind of tracking and reporting system in place, the polluting businesses kept pointing fingers at other manufacturers, knowing that the DEQ had little data to prove or disprove their claims. Businesses already track this kind of information for the reports they prepare for the US EPA and the State Fire Marshall (although these reports lack detailed information that is useful to a community) . It is not a stretch for businesses to supply this information to the local Fire Marshall’s office. A toxics reporting program, based on materials balancing, will provide accurate data that will help regulators and communities know and reduce the toxics in our air and water.

In summary, HB 2669 supports citizens’ fundamental right to know the identity and amounts of toxic chemicals that are released into the workplaces, air, water, soil, and environment of their community.

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Key point #3: Community Toxics Reporting and Right–to-Know covers over 1,500 chemicals, which is much more extensive that the 52 chemicals the DEQ currently tracks.

Key points for your phone call:

• The purpose of the Toxics Reporting and Right-to-Know Program is to provide the public, industry and the local government with accurate, complete and timely information about hazardous materials used by manufacturers.
• Community right-to-know programs provide a great level of detail on the use of over 1500 individual hazardous substances by manufacturers from an extensive list comprised of chemicals that are federally listed. It relies on the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and more
• HB 2669 requires materials balance accounting, meaning that total inputs and total outputs are equivalent, a method that delivers a high level of accuracy in reporting data. Reports on the input and output details on emissions and use of toxic products in a materials balance account report allows the public to assess to data on what is being emitted via various pathways. This is different than other programs in Oregon. For example, although the DEQ is the regulatory agency for both air and water, their two divisions don’t share information and have to comprehensive understanding of the pollution that is emitted into air and surface water. These environmental mediums are directly connected.
• DEQ reports air emissions only as required for permitting under the Clean Air Act. DEQ is required to track 6 criteria air pollutants as well as the aggregate emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), but not information regarding emissions of specific toxic substances that are emitted to air, water, stored on site, sent to a landfill and used in a manufactured product.
• The State Fire Marshal’s Program reports only provide information about chemicals stored onsite and only within specified and estimated ranges of hazardous materials present at a site. For example, a range might be 100-1,000 pounds of xylene.

Key points for your email (Sample Letter):

Dear Chair Helm and Members of the House Energy and Environment Committee,

Please support the passage of HB 2669, the Toxics Reporting Bill and Community Right to Know program. It is our hope that toxics reporting may encourage businesses, in a desire to be a better neighbor, to use more environmentally-friendly chemicals or move to use non-hazardous substances when feasible in their manufacturing processes.

We support HB 2669 because Community right-to-know programs provide a great level of detail on the use of over 1500 individual hazardous substances by manufacturers from an extensive list comprised of chemicals that are federally listed. It relies on the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and more. The DEQ only collects some estimated data on a paltry list of 52 chemicals. Communities deserve to know about all toxic chemicals getting in to the local air and water, not to mention backyard gardens and public parks.

If HB 2669 is not adopted in Oregon, communities would not have available access to comprehensive information on the use of individual hazardous substances by manufacturers in their city or county. We must no longer accept that polluters demand and are granted policies based on secrecy and lack of accountability for their activities that harm their residential neighbors.

Toxics Reporting is a powerful tool for the public benefit of gathering environmental data and increasing understanding of the factors that contribute to human health and a healthy environment. Accurate and detailed information can help businesses set goals to reduce toxic chemicals and increase efficiency at the same time, leading to an increased profit and public good will.

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ENDORSERS

1. Beyond Toxics (Lane County & Statewide)
2. Cleaner Air Grants Pass (Josephine County)
3. Concerned Citizens for Clean Air (Lincoln County)
4. Corvallis Clean Air (Benton County)
5. Cully Clean Air (Multnomah County)
6. Disability Art and Culture Project – Disability Rights (Multnomah County)
7. Eastside Portland Air Coalition (Multnomah County)
8. Hillsboro Air and Water (Washington County)
9. League of Women Voters of Oregon (Statewide)
10. Linnton Neighborhood Association Board (Multnomah County)
11. Lotus Rising Project (Jackson County)
12. McPhillips Farms (Yamhill County)
13. NAACP Eugene-Springfield (Lane County)
14. Oregon Environmental Council
15. PDX North Harbor Neighbors (Multnomah County)
16. Portland Clean Air (Multnomah County)
17. Rockaway Beach Citizens for Watershed Protection (Tillamook County)
18. South Portland Air Quality (Multnomah County)
19. Stop the Dump Coalition (Yamhill County)
20. The Dalles Air Coalition (Wasco County)
21. OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
22. Verde (Portland’s Cully Neighborhood)
23. City of Eugene
24. Oregon Center for Christian Voices

Are you a business or organization that would like to endorse the Community Toxics Reporting Act? Just fill out our endorsement form!

 

RESOURCES

 


Back to the 2017 Oregon State Legislative Session page to see the overview of all our bills