CAAT, the Cully Air Action Team, had a busy 2021. We worked with DEQ to finalize NW Metals exit from the Cully neighborhood and organized a transition to alert neighbors in the St. Johns neighborhood about the move. This outreach led to an important public meeting between DEQ and St. Johns residents that initiated a working relationship between the two groups to focus in on NW Metals new site.
CAAT invited DEQ to present at two CAN meetings, both on Owens-Brockway. Shortly after the first Spring 2021 meeting DEQ issued a major fine to the polluter, something CAAT had been asking for over the last few years. The fine was appealed by Owens-Brockway and CAAT insisted on addressing the appeal to the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC). We were allowed to submit a letter of interest. The appeal was denied which led to the SEP (Supplemental Environmental Project) funding for the ongoing Cully Tree Canopy Project being planned by Friends of Trees, Verde, and CAAT/CAN.
CAAT worked with neighbors on NE Emerson St. to initiate a meaningful and responsive dialogue, including meetings and site visits, with City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and also self-investigated Beto’s Auto Body, made observations of unsafe working conditions, and provided BES with testimony and pictures regarding Beto’s which led to some resolves and commitments to make the neighbors happier.
CAAT worked with Earthjustice, Verde, Neighbors for Clean Air, Oregon Environment Council and others to pressure DEQ not to renew Owens-Brockway’s Title V permit. This is still undecided at this point, although Owens must decide its own future before June 30, 2022–by installing filters or ceasing operations. As part of this discussion, CAAT identified appropriate Best Available Control Technology (BACT) filters that Owens should install and encouraged the company and DEQ to install filters immediately (to be resolved by 6/30/2022).
CAAT alerted environmental activist neighbors in Longview, WA to potential Cr (VI) pollution from Owens after they moved their green glass furnace to the Owens Kalamas, WA site.
CAAT provided testimony and advocacy to EQC regarding new Regional Haze regulations as part of the Cleaner Air Oregon legislation.
CAAT leaned heavily on DEQ staff to clarify, simplify and implement Acceptable Risk parameters under CAO for dangerous pollutants and polluters. CAAT provided written and verbal testimony on CAO’s Acceptable Risk Levels.
CAAT implored Commissioner Rubio to stay true to climate change GHG release agreements and penalties made by the previous City Council. This was an important counterweight to Portland Business Alliance who were seeking to have the new Commissioner eliminate or diminish the penalties. CAAT invited Commissioner Rubio to come to the CAN meeting in January 2022, and she accepted, making her first public neighborhood council presentation.
CAAT participated in other grassroots networking regarding Owens-Brockway and other pollution issues. CAAT worked with university interns on a number of student projects. CAAT submitted opinion editorials (OpEds) to the Oregonian, Portland Tribune, and other media outlets. CAAT advocated for UP/BNSF rail lines to pay attention to hazardous waste, oil, and coal transports for catastrophic explosions. CAAT signed onto to a number of citizen grassroots initiatives regarding regional polluters, including Zenith Oil and American Petroleum Environmental Services (APES).