Environmental Injustice

The clear waters of Waldo Lake. Photo Credit By Coulee

As of Monday, June 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has put a new federal rule into effect regarding Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, that curb the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s ability to protect clean water for people in Oregon. DEQ described its opposition to the proposed rollback back in an October article.

As stated in DEQ’s response to this rule, posted on Monday, “This is a direct assault on the federal Clean Water Act, one of the most successful environmental laws ever passed by Congress. As such it is also an assault on the public health of Oregonians and people across the U.S. who depend on their states to enforce clean water regulations.

“For five decades, states have been working within the Clean Water Act to reduce the amount of pollution flowing into our waters. Rolling back this legislation under the guise of ‘efficiency’ will endanger our drinking water, fish habitat, recreation areas and more.”

Rather than reiterating the ways in which this is damaging and irresponsible legislation, we want to use this space to let you know that we are still here for you at DEQ. We care about protecting clean water for people in Oregon. We understand that the impacts of this and other environmental rollbacks by this administration do not affect us all equally, but will disproportionately affect people of color and low income communities. It is environmental injustice.

In October 2018, Governor Brown passed the Oregon Environmental Protection Act in response to the environmental rollbacks that were taking shape. At that time, Governor Brown said in her press release, “Over the past two years Oregonians have witnessed an unprecedented and aggressive attack on clean air standards, clean water standards, and federal efforts to fight climate change. In Oregon, that rollback stops now. Under my leadership, Oregon will stand for clean air and clean water, and we will defend the health of our children and our children’s children.”

We stand by that and we stand by you.

Partner Agency Responses:

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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