Air Pollution

Eugene City Council votes to include public health in land use planning

On October 23rd, 2023, the Eugene City Council voted unanimously to direct city planning staff to draft an ordinance to create a public health zoning code that will protect the health of residents and school children from industrial air, water and soil pollution.

See this report from the Eugene Register-Guard:
Eugene council takes step to create rules they say will protect the city from polluters by Alan Torres, Eugene Register-Guard
Read the PDF

Read more about our work to rally support for this development and the benefits of public health protection zoning.

Beyond Toxics releases report, Beneath The Pump: The Threat of Petroleum Contamination

Read the Beyond Toxics report, Beneath The Pump: The Threat of Petroleum Contamination (PDF) on the dangers of petroleum contamination in and around Eugene's gas stations.

Beyond Toxics advocates for a ban on the construction of new gas stations in Eugene. Existing gas stations pose a threat to human and environmental health and undermine state and local efforts to reduce fossil fuels.

TOP 4 reasons to support a gas station moratorium
1. Gas stations emit toxic air pollution linked to asthma, birth defects, and cancer.
2. Gas stations frequently leak petroleum contaminating nearby groundwater, soil, and air causing damage to nearby properties.
3. Economists and energy experts predict most existing gas stations will be unprofitable in the next 10 years as electric car sales continue to rise.
4. Banning the construction of new gas stations is not new and has already been done in several cities in California and is being proposed in several other large cities.

Beyond Toxics releases report, Seeing is Believing: Visualizing Indoor Air Pollution from Gas Stoves

On April 17th, Beyond Toxics released findings of its study, “Seeing is Believing: Visualizing Indoor Air Pollution from Gas Stoves.” The study details the results of testing 13 different homes in Eugene and Springfield for the presence of concerning levels of toxic indoor air pollution emitted by residential gas stoves.

Beyond Toxics used an industry-standard optical gas imaging camera alongside a personal air quality monitor in homes ranging in size and age to determine levels of toxic gasses accumulating in kitchens while gas stoves were in use. Air monitor results found that using one burner on low heat for under five minutes, combined with preheating an oven to 350 degrees, resulted in harmful, sometimes hazardous nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels, plus other toxic chemicals in six of thirteen houses.

The full report is now available for download on the website via a new page, Analyzing Toxic Gas Exposure from Gas Appliances and What You Can Do About It

Eugene City Council votes to ban natural gas and other fossil fuel infrastructure in new homes

Eugene has banned natural gas and other fossil fuel infrastructure in new homes, townhouses and other residential structures no taller than three stories. City councilors voted 5-3 to pass an ordinance that will apply to building permit applications submitted on or after June 30, 2023. Read more about the victory and the health risks of gas stoves.

COMMUNITY VICTORY FOR THE RIGHT TO CLEAN AIR: Discovery of dioxin-contaminated soil and intense pressure from Beyond Toxics and the West Eugene community leads to JH Baxter closing down!

After intense, ongoing public pressure and mounting evidence of dangerous levels of toxic pollution, JH Baxter, a creosote manufacturer and chronic polluter in West Eugene, announced it is closing its doors on January 31st. The company will keep a skeleton crew onsite to manage clean up requirements.

Last week, Beyond Toxics, in collaboration with the Active Bethel Community organization, sent letters to Eugene's Mayor and City Council demanding that our elected officials ask Governor Brown and the DEQ to issue a Cease and Desist order. The goal of this order was to force JH Baxter to immediately halt all actions that emitted pollution or contributed to contamination.

Beyond Toxics plays key role in stopping Covanta giveaway

Beyond Toxics played a key role in derailing a bill in the 2019 legislature to exempt the Covanta trash incinerator from carbon pollution reduction requirements. | Check out Lisa Arkin's blog, “Trashy and Tricky.”

Cleaner Air Oregon policy enacted

Beyond Toxics played a leading role in a broad coalition to finalize the Cleaner Air Oregon policy enactment. We were tough on advocating for stronger standards that force industrial polluters to reduce their emissions to protect community health and to achieve clean and healthy air. Introducing a bill for Community Toxics Right to Know in 2017 led the state of Oregon to adopt a new requirement that industries report their air toxics emissions inventory and make the data accessible to the public.

See "Traversing the gauntlet," a blog by Lisa Arkin:

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