Beyond Toxics 2023 Legislative Agenda
SB 488 - Oregon's Medical Waste Incinerator
The Oregon State Senate and House both passed Senate Bill 488! We now await the governor's signature for the bill to become law.
SB 488, a bill to cap and monitor toxic emissions from waste incineration, passed both the Senate and House. The bill now moves to the Governor's desk for signing into law. Beyond Toxics, an Oregon environmental justice organization, is the primary advocate, leading a coalition of groups concerned about waste incineration for more than four years.
SB 488 will require Covanta Marion, a large municipal waste incinerator located northeast of Salem, to deploy continuous emissions monitoring for the most hazardous chemicals known to harm human health and the environment. In addition, medical waste incineration, which produces the most dioxin, will be capped at 18,000 tons/year.
With the passage of SB 488, Oregon leads the nation in promoting increased understanding, monitoring and regulating of the highly hazardous pollution created when plastics, petroleum products, industrial waste and other materials are burned.
"The passage of SB 488 is a David and Goliath victory," observed Lisa Arkin, Executive Director of Beyond Toxics. "It is also a tremendous win for environmental justice because the incinerator's pollution primarily impacts communities of color living near NE Salem, Woodburn and Brooks. Everyone deserves to breathe clean air and to be assured that their communities are not polluted with dioxin and heavy metals."
The coalition appreciates the hard work of Senator Deb Patterson who served as Chief Sponsor of the legislation.
Read Oregon’s Legislature passes nation’s strictest incinerator monitoring bill
Tracy Loew, Salem Statesman Journal (read the PDF)
...and a LOSS!
SB 426 Toxic Free Schools
Beyond Toxics is sad to announce the shocking news that SB 426, the Toxic Free Schools bill failed to advance past the Joint Ways and Means Committee. We remain baffled by the failure of legislators to pass this bill! Toxic Free Schools had met every criteria to be a top priority for passage. We thank you for all of the outstanding and compelling oral and written testimonies at all public hearings this session! You all spoke so passionately and inspired many Oregon legislators to ramp up their efforts to protect children's health!
SB 530, Natural Climate Solutions
SB 530, Natural Climate Solutions, passed the 2023 legislative session and was signed into law in the spring of 2023 as part of a larger package of climate solution legislation: the “Climate Resilience Package” (HB 3409 & HB 3630)! This comprehensive package brings together and provides $90 million in funding for more than a dozen priority bills related to climate action. We await the governor's signature for this package of bills to become law.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our champions in the Oregon House and Senate for their work to get this vital climate package across the finish line.
Natural Climate Solutions
Title: Relating to natural climate solutions; prescribing an effective date.
Catchline/Summary: Establishes state policy regarding natural climate solutions.
Description: Establishes state policy regarding natural climate solutions. Establishes Natural and Working Lands Fund and provides for transfer of moneys from fund to certain state agencies. Prescribes uses of moneys from fund and requires Oregon Global Warming Commission to report to legislature on uses of moneys from fund. Directs State Department of Energy and commission to prepare baseline, activity-based metrics and community impact metrics for net carbon sequestration and storage in natural and working lands and establish carbon sequestration and storage goals. Directs State Department of Energy, in coordination with commission, to study workforce training programs needed to support adoption of natural climate solutions and provide results to committees of Legislative Assembly related to environment no later than September 15, 2024. Authorizes commission to appoint natural and working lands advisory committee.
Chief Sponsors: Senator Dembrow, Representative Marsh, Senator Golden, Representative Neron
Regular Sponsors: Senator Frederick, Patterson, Taylor, Representative Gamba, Gomberg, Helm, Hudson, Pham K
Our position: We are working with a statewide coalition to put forward the Natural Climate Solutions bill, SB 530. This could be a game-changer for climate action in Oregon! SB 530 is a comprehensive bill that will help the state achieve its climate goals, support Oregon’s environmental justice communities and small landowners, improve equitable outcomes in the face of climate change, and protect our state’s vital natural resources.
Read more about why Natural Climate Solutions legislation is needed for Oregon.
Toxic Free Schools
STATUS: Introduced and first reading on 1/9. Referred to Senate Committee On Education on 1/11.
UPDATE: Beyond Toxics is sad to announce that SB 426, the Toxic Free Schools bill failed to advance past the Joint Ways and Means Committee. We remain baffled by the failure of legislators to pass this bill! Toxic Free Schools had met every criteria to be a top priority for passage. We thank you for all of the outstanding and compelling oral and written testimonies at all public hearings this session!
Title: Relating to school integrated pest management; prescribing an effective date.
Catchline/Summary: Modifies requirements of Healthy and Safe Schools Plan related to integrated pest management.
Description: Modifies requirements of Healthy and Safe Schools Plan related to integrated pest management. Requires Department of Education to provide technical assistance to districts and schools regarding integrated pest management plans. Requires department to establish recommendations for limiting and reducing exposure to pesticides.
Chief Sponsors: Senator Dembrow, Patterson, Representative Hudson, Senator Manning Jr, Representatives Neron, Nosse, Reynolds
Regular Sponsors: Senators Campos, Taylor
Our position: SB 426 is part of a three bill suite of environmental health bills lined up to protect children's health from exposure to toxic chemicals. The goal of SB 426 is to improve transparency around pesticide use in Oregon schools and provide funding to support schools integrated pest management planning. When Oregon's School Integrated Pest Management law was enacted in 2009, it did not allocate funding to the Department of Education or school districts to implement the law. As a result, many hazardous and unlawful pesticide applications have occurred on Oregon’s school campuses in the last thirteen years.
Read more about why Toxic Free Schools legislation is needed for Oregon.
Oregon's Medical Waste Incineration Act
STATUS UPDATE: PASSED!
Title: Relating to municipal solid waste incinerators.
Catchline/Summary: Requires municipal solid waste incinerators that accepts more than specified amounts of hospital, medical or infectious waste in calendar year to meet federal emissions limits for hospital, medical or infectious waste incinerator.
Chief Sponsors: Senator Patterson, Representative Neron, Senator Manning Jr.
Regular Sponsors: Senators Campos, Gelser Blouin, Golden, Taylor
Our position: SB 488 will help reduce waste incineration emissions by establishing lower limits for a large amount of medical waste incineration. The result will be improved air quality for communities around waste incinerators now and into the future.
See the recording of the Feb. webinar "Winning For Clean Air Now!" on YouTube
Read more about why Oregon's Medical Waste Incineration legislation is needed.
MAJOR VICTORIES FOR OTHER LEGISLATION WE SUPPORT!
SB 530, Natural Climate Solutions, passed both the House and the Senate and is headed for the Governor's desk as part of a larger package of climate solution legislation: the “Climate Resilience Package” (HB 3409 & HB 3630)! This comprehensive package brings together and provides $90 million in funding for more than a dozen priority bills related to climate action. We await the governor's signature for this package of bills to become law.
The Climate Resilience Package includes more than a dozen widely supported bills from the 2023 legislative session that will drive climate progress and provide essential services that will make Oregon communities safer, healthier, more resilient and affordable.
THIS PACKAGE INCLUDES...
Resilient, Efficient Buildings Policy Package (SB 868, 869, 870, 871), a priority of our coalition partner, Oregon Just Transition Alliance. These bills leverage federal funding to improve efficiency of homes and buildings; supports healthy, affordable, resilient communities and family-wage job creation across Oregon.
Community Resilience Hubs (HB 2990) - Funds community resilience hubs and networks across the state to coordinate and provide access to resources and services for vulnerable populations during disasters.
Senate Bill 543 passed the Oregon House with a bipartisan vote of 40-18! And Senate Bill 545 passed the Oregon House with a bipartisan vote of 38-18! Both bills now head to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.
Reduce Plastic Pollution!
Every year it's becoming more and more clear: we need to turn off the plastic tap. Plastic waste is piling up in our landfills, our communities and our environment. Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the environment for centuries. We need to shift away from our throwaway culture and create an economy in which we produce less waste, build products that last and can be reused or repaired, and recycle the rest.
Beyond Toxics is alarmed by the dangers to our environment and health from the creation, use and disposal of plastics in society! It is highly toxic to society at every stage! There is hope for Oregon...there are two critical bills now making their way through Oregon's legislature this sping that address those risks to us all. They are: SB 543 and SB 545. We urge you to contact your legislators and urge their support for both bills!
Both bills will make an important contribution to the effort to reduce the use of non-recyclable plastic products that clog Oregon's landfills and contribute to the leaching of danegrous chemicals into our aquifers and rivers and streams.
Beyond Toxics has joined the Building Resilience Coalition!
The Building Resilience Coalition is made up of a broad group of climate and environmental justice organizations dedicated to making sure Oregon builds healthier, more affordable, and resilient communities that are not reliant on dirty fossil fuels.
Together we share a vision for making Oregon’s homes and buildings healthier, more affordable, resilient, efficient, safer, and all-electric to lower climate pollution while creating good-paying jobs. The coalition will seek policies that put people at the center and prioritize those most harmed by the climate crisis and the high cost of fossil fuels such as low-income, rural, Black, Indigenous, and people of color in Oregon.
The climate crisis is here and harming us all, with those who are already the most vulnerable bearing the worst burden. Our homes and buildings are the second largest source of climate pollution and our first line of defense against climate harms, like extreme heat and wildfire smoke. With Oregon on one of the most aggressive timelines in the nation to move to 100% clean electricity, there is more momentum than ever to focus on plugging our homes and buildings into that clean power by transitioningaway from methane gas, oil, and other polluting energy.
The Building Resilience Policy Package is a suite of four bills that Oregon Just Transition Alliance (OJTA) prioritized in the 2023 session.