Gov. Brown signs bill to continue, expand EV rebates

Governor Kate Brown this week signed legislation to expand access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, particularly to people with low incomes and people of color.

By removing the current sunset on funding, House Bill 2165 will allow the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to continue offering rebates to those who buy electric vehicles.

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Your DEQ Online update: All systems go!

Ramesh Manickam, Your DEQ Online Risk Manager, is working with the new data management system.

Nearly three weeks into the official launch of Your DEQ Online, the agency’s new data management system, responses have been overwhelmingly positive.

“It has been very smooth,” said Ramesh Manickam, who serves as risk manager for the massive technology project. “We have not had any problems so far.”

Your DEQ Online allows regulated industries to conduct business with DEQ entirely online, including permits, certifications and licenses. It also offers electronic payments for fees and fines. The new system is being phased in over two years.

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Introducing the new and improved Oregon Smoke Blog

For years, the Oregon Smoke Blog has been the go-to resource for anyone wanting to learn the latest and best information on smoke conditions during wildfire season. And now, the blog is even better.

In preparation for the upcoming summer months, DEQ has revamped the blog to give it a cleaner design and make it more user friendly. It also is much more adaptable to mobile phone use, which is increasingly the preferred method for accessing the blog.

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Include old electronics in your next spring cleaning purge

No matter how hard we work at “spring cleaning,” there’s often one area that’s overlooked – our old, unused electronics. A recent survey found that most of us in Oregon have broken or obsolete TVs, computers, printers or other electronics hiding in plain sight at home. These electronics languish in closets or under sofas, in attics or storage and generally evade our spring cleaning efforts.

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DEQ water quality analyst selected for national board

Martina Frey

The Oregon Department of Quality’s own Martina Frey has been chosen to serve on a national board that is working to modernize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s database for permit compliance and enforcement data.

Martina was one of a handful of water quality experts selected from across the United States to be part of the ICIS Modernization Board. ICIS stands for Integrated Compliance Information System, and is where states and EPA regional branches report their monitoring and enforcement activities.

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Air Quality Awareness Week Q&A with Oregon DEQ’s Air Quality Division Administrator Ali Mirzakhalili

Ali Mirzakhalili at Sisters, Oregon

Ali Mirzakhalili has worked as Oregon DEQ’s Air Quality Division administrator since 2018, but he has been involved with environmental issues for much longer. For Air Quality Awareness Week, we thought it was a good time to ask him about what drew him to this work and how he feels about Oregon’s environmental future.

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DEQ Lab releases groundwater quality report for Harney County

DEQ’s Nick Haxton-Evans takes a water sample from a groundwater well in Harney County.

A new report from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Laboratory shows water quality data for groundwater in Harney County.

DEQ sampled water from 91 residential, agricultural and monitoring wells in the county and detected 42 different chemicals, including bacteria, pesticides, metals and nutrients. Some of these chemicals naturally exist within water and others are potential contaminants.

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DEQ’s Lab makes science the cornerstone of environmental protection in Oregon

The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of science to inform both government response and individual action. Climate science is used in a similar way to shape decision-making that can deliver a safe, equitable and sustainable future.

At the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, science is the cornerstone of the work we do to better understand the health of Oregon’s environment.

With just 82 employees, the Oregon Laboratory and Environmental Assessment Division, DEQ’s lab, provides the scientific and technical capacity to respond quickly to a broad range of emerging issues and unprecedented events, such as wildfires, that affect public health and the environment.

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Food waste reduction work hits major milestone

Curbing the 35% of food that goes uneaten each year will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water and land resources, and support those facing food insecurity— which has become increasingly critical in the wake of COVID-19. DEQ’s Materials Management program prioritizes food waste reduction, and leads a variety of projects to reduce food waste. One of those efforts is DEQ’s ongoing support of regional food waste reductions through the Pacific Coast Collaborative, an international governmental agency focused on several environmental initiatives, including food waste reduction.

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