Bipartisan legislation to improve air quality by phasing out “dirty diesel” engines in certain parts of the state passed the Oregon House of Representatives today. House Bill 2007, which has been several sessions in the making, phases out the use of older medium and heavy-duty trucks in the tri-county area. The legislation prioritizes the use of approximately $53 million from the Volkswagen Settlement Fund to help truck owners replace or retrofit their old vehicles to be in compliance with the phase out requirement.
“We can no longer afford to wait to move towards cleaner diesel standards,” said Rep. Karin Power (D-Milwaukie), a chief sponsor of the bill “We must take action like our neighboring states did years ago. We have a chance to make progress, using funds that are available and at the ready right now, to help shift our tri-county fleets and trucks towards cleaner equipment. We can’t wait another year.”
The legislation also requires that 80 percent of vehicles used in publicly-funded construction projects within the tri-county area use model year 2010 or newer engines or meet Tier 4 emission standards if the project uses more than $20 million in state funds or bonding capacity. This will apply to all contracts advertised or solicited on or after Jan. 1, 2022, and explicitly applies to the I-5 Rose Quarter, I-205 Abernethy, I-205 widening project, Highway 217 projects.
This legislation sets deadlines for trucks to be retrofitted, repowered, or replaced within Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties. Specifically: • By 2023 a truck must be model year 1997 or newer for medium and heavy-duty. • By 2025 trucks titled in the tri-county area must be model year 2010 or newer for medium duty or 2007 or newer for heavy-duty. • By 2029 privately owned medium duty trucks in the metro area must be model year 2010 or newer; heavy-duty privately-owned trucks must be 2007 or newer. • By 2029 publicly owned medium and heavy-duty trucks in the metro area must be model year 2010 or newer.
In Oregon, 19 counties currently exceed health benchmarks for diesel pollution, putting children, seniors, and those with health challenges at risk. A recent Ensuring Quality Care study found that Oregonians are at risk for aggravated health effects, such as asthma, heart and lung disease, and birth complications, simply due to daily exposure levels.
“This legislation is an important step forward for our community,” said Rep. Rob Nosse, a chief sponsor of the legislation and longtime proponent of clean diesel legislation. “For too many, especially those who are low-income and the most vulnerable, pollution can have detrimental and even deadly consequences. There is still more work to be done for the state of Oregon, but House Bill 2007 will make a difference.”
The legislation exempts farm vehicles, emergency vehicles, fire apparatus, campers/motor homes, recreational vehicles, antique vehicles, carriers with a fleet size of five or fewer heavyduty trucks, and low use vehicles. The legislation, which passed 44 to 15, now goes to the Oregon Senate for consideration.