Sierra Club applauds DEQ for providing a path to an early end to dangerous coal-fired power in Oregon
(Portland, OR)–On December 2, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recommended to the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) that the commission approve a proposal that would allow Portland General Electric to invest in pollution controls and close the Boardman coal-fired power plant no later than 2020. The DEQ also recommended retaining a path to phase out of use as soon as 2015, due to regulatory and legal action likely to require Boardman to address the need for further and earlier pollution reductions. Importantly, the DEQ recommendation made clear that the proposed EQC rule “does not preclude PGE from phasing out the use of coal at the Boardman facility any time between 2011 and 2019.” The EQC is now scheduled to consider the DEQ recommendation at the Commission’s upcoming December 9 meeting.
The Sierra Club issued the following statement concerning the recommendation from the DEQ:
Statement of Robin Everett, Associate Regional Representative,
Sierra Club’s Coal Free Oregon Campaign
“The Sierra Club is glad to see that the DEQ recognizes that this dirty and dangerous coal plant may need to shut down much earlier than 2020 and has provided a path forward for earlier closure than the 2020 date.
“We will continue to work with our coalition partners to make sure that PGE follows the law and to secure the most reasonable date for the necessary transition away from dirty and dangerous coal in Oregon. The DEQ has shown that the public’s voice was heard when it called for earlier closure of the plant and we will continue to strive to make that happen.”
“The people of Oregon have spoken-up throughout this long process to tell our regulators that we want coal out of Oregon as soon as possible. The DEQ recommendation acknowledges that, of the more than 8,000 public comments submitted to the Department, ‘there was considerable support for an earlier closure in 2015, or sooner.’
“The issues at stake when we talk about phasing out coal-fired power are no less than the health and quality of life for everyone living in Oregon. Pollution from coal-fired power pollutes our air and water and is responsible for four of the five leading causes of death in the United States. Coal is also responsible for a huge amount of climate-disrupting carbon pollution that is causing hotter temperatures, devastating droughts and more severe weather events around the globe.
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