The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting public input on proposed new air quality rules, and the deadline is 4 p.m. Dec. 22.

The proposed rules are an improvement, but still are very much in flux, so it is essential that as many people as possible get involved while the DEQ is accepting input.

There are many problems with the proposed rules (and implementation). For example, the DEQ has little funding, plans on taking five years to process the first 80 sites (out of 2,500), plans to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and will allow businesses to self-report their emissions.

Of particular concern to Corvallis: The DEQ is allowing both Hollinsgworth & Vose plants to average their emissions so that the filters being installed look better on paper. Particulate emissions that are very small go straight into the bloodstream. One plant's emissions are in the 1-3 micron range, but the new filter will not work on particulates smaller than 3 microns. By averaging this with the other plant, which has particulate emissions of more than 12 microns, on paper it can appear that the average of over 5 microns is being dealt with by the filters. While the prevailing wind is from the southwest, this varies. South Corvallis does receive this at times — so does downtown Corvallis.

This is not a perfect air quality plan, but is actually an improvement, and needs all the encouragement it can get to become better.

Cleanerair.oregon.gov is the site to give input.

I know several people concerned about the Hollingsworth & Vose plant and would like to hear from more. My email is rickmcn2@gmail.com.

Rick McNern

Corvallis (Dec. 15)

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