Brown Touts Oregon Environmental Legislation

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday announced legislation that would maintain Oregon's water and air quality rules at the same level or higher than they were the day before President Donald Trump took office.

Posted: Oct 3, 2018 11:28 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday announced legislation that would maintain Oregon's water and air quality rules at the same level or higher than they were the day before President Donald Trump took office.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that one of the goals of the legislation is to protect public health welfare from the adverse effects of pollution and climate change.

With the new legislation, called the Oregon Environmental Protection Act, Brown said she is looking to inspire a national movement of states to oppose what she called the "unprecedented and aggressive attack" on clean air and water.

The Trump administration has undertaken several actions to overturn or delay environmental laws from taking effect, ranging from carbon-emissions goals in the Obama-era Clean Power Plan designed to help the United States meet international climate goals to protections for wildlife — and from regulations of pesticides, ozone and mercury to expanding fossil fuel development on public lands.

With the new legislation, called the Oregon Environmental Protection Act, Brown said she is looking to inspire a national movement of states to oppose what she called the "unprecedented and aggressive attack" on clean air and water.

Brown's proposed legislation focuses on the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. Both are regulated and enforced at the state level by Oregon agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Health Authority and the Water Resources Department. In most instances, the federal laws allow states to establish more stringent environmental protections than required nationally.

The governor's office said, if passed by the Legislature, the legislation would maintain Obama-era ozone emission standards, regulate methane and other pollutants from landfills, as well as mercury emissions from the state's one remaining coal power plant and extend water quality protections to some to the state's rivers and streams.

The state Legislature, which is controlled Brown's fellow Democrats, has balked at some new environmental legislation in recent years.

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