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Rulemaking: From laws to environmental regulation

Bills become laws and state legislators design some Oregon laws to protect the environment. Most people understand that process.

But what about rules that put environmental protection into action? That’s where DEQ comes in through rulemaking. DEQ proposes rules that define how the public and industry interact with the environment in an effort to benefit the economy, human habitation and the preservation of natural areas.

Lauren and Dylan catch up with rulemaking experts at DEQ.

Listen to the podcast on: SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Emil Hnidey, DEQ rule coordinator, and Mike Kortenhof, DEQ fuel tank compliance manager, talk about rulemaking and how the public can join in the process.

“It’s at the heart of everything we do,” Hnidey said. “If there were no rules there’d be no DEQ because what would we enforce? What would we do?”

While Hnidey provides us an overview of why DEQ does rulemaking, Kortenhof takes us through an ongoing rulemaking effort so we can better understand the journey from law to rule.

Kortenhof is an expert in fuel tank safety – think of those large fuel tanks that you might see at a shipyard or similar facility – and part of the rulemaking for fuel tank seismic stability. In 2022, Senate Bill 1567 gave DEQ the authority to develop a program that evaluates the vulnerability of fuel tank systems to earthquakes. These rules will apply to facilities managing over two million gallons of fuel in Lane, Multnomah and Columbia counties and requires them to develop a plan to minimize risk.

“It’s a big project, it’s an important project,” he said.

For more information about rulemaking at DEQ, including how to joining a rules advisory committee, contact Emil Hnidey at or 503-229-5946.

Sign up for email or text updates on this rulemaking via GovDelivery.


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