Nearly 99% of Eugene’s pollution comes from factories in a single ZIP code, which is also home to the majority of the city's people of color and lower income households.
According to the EPA’s National Air Toxics Assessment, Oregon has the third largest population at risk of excess cancer due to air pollution. Exposure to air pollution has been linked to premature death, higher prevalence of lung disease, decreased productivity in school and work, lost earnings, and school absences. Low-income people and communities of color are likely to live in areas where pollutants exceed public health standards.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Beyond Toxics and a coalition of clean air advocacy groups from around the state share a vision for clean, healthy air in all of Oregon's communities.
The fight for clean air continues
Beyond Toxics has been fighting for clean air in Oregon for two decades. We won health-based air quality laws that also include equity benchmarks. We succeeded by using community organizing, pressuring state legislators and working at every level to adopt the strongest air quality and land use rules and regulations. We took action to force industry to clean up their pollution, we’ve changed bad zoning patterns, we prevented harm to communities from the impacts of industrial pollution and we continue to engage and organize the communities we serve.
In West Eugene, 550,000 pounds of toxic emissions were released in 2019. This pollution - emitted in the 97402 zip code area - accounted for 96% of all the emissions released in the City of Eugene that year, and every year. Polluted air in West Eugene persists due to outdated zoning laws, housing built near pollution and weak air regulations. Learn more
Beyond Toxics helped establish this innovative statewide program. We continue to serve as a key stakeholder in the ongoing process of developing stronger air quality laws to protect the lungs of all Oregonians. Learn more
During the 2019 Oregon legislative session, SB 451 was introduced to give one company, Covanta, the corporation owning Oregon’s single trash incinerator in Marion County, tax credits reserved for renewable energy projects. Beyond Toxics was in the forefront to stop that bill and played a pivotal role again in 2020 when the same legislation was proposed a second time. | For more, read Lisa Arkin's blog, Trashy and Tricky.
Field Burning in Mid-Willamette Valley
Beyond Toxics played a crucial role in bringing attention to the public health consequences of field burning and helped pass legislation to end the practice by grass seed farmers of burning the waste remnants after harvest.