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Front-Line Communities Applaud OR "Clean Truck" Rules

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Friday, November 19, 2021   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Communities on the front lines of climate change are expected to benefit most from new rules in Oregon to move the state toward cleaner trucks.

The Oregon Environmental Commission approved the Advanced Clean Truck Rule and the Heavy-Duty Omnibus, or Low NOx Rule, which will both go into effect for 2025 model vehicles.

They guarantee an increasing percentage of trucks, buses and vans sold are zero-emission and pollution is reduced from diesel truck engines.

Victoria Paykar, Oregon transportation policy manager for the group Climate Solutions, said low-income neighborhoods and Black, Indigenous and communities of color are disproportionately burdened by air pollution.

"Due to historic racist policies in transportation and land use that ultimately have low-income and BIPOC communities being placed next to highly polluted areas, such as truck corridors and highways and ports, etc.," Paykar explained.

California created and adopted the Advanced Clean Truck rule and Oregon is the first state to follow its lead. Five other states, including Washington, are considering adopting the rule by the end of the year.

Aimée Okotie-Oyekan, environmental and climate justice coordinator for the NAACP of Eugene and Springfield, said the rules are long overdue, and noted they are sellers' mandates, so the state will need to go further for affected communities.

"Making sure that these zero-emission vehicles are actually bought and deployed in areas that are disproportionately burdened by diesel emission," Okotie-Oyekan outlined. "Just to make sure that we are targeting this investment in a reparative way, and righting the wrongs of the past."

In Oregon, the transportation sector accounts for 40% of greenhouse-gas emissions and nearly a quarter of those emissions come from heavy-duty trucks and buses.

Mary Peveto, executive director of Neighbors for Clean Air, said addressing emissions through these rules is crucial not only to meet the state's clean transportation goals, but because climate change already is affecting Oregonians' health.

"If we start looking at that community scale and how we can alleviate the most toxic and harmful pollutants, we actually also get the co-benefit of prioritizing what's going to help our climate," Peveto stated.


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