As a doctor, I spent two decades at a clinic in downtown Portland where I worked closely with low-income and homeless populations. I saw first-hand the impacts air pollution from vehicles has on frontline communities living near major roadways. It is clear, our reliance on fossil fuels directly threatens the health and safety of all Oregonians.
Air pollution from vehicles poses a tremendous health burden for communities across Oregon. Persistent air quality alerts from various pollutants including vehicles, wildfires and other climate-related impacts are a reminder that clean air is harder and harder to come by. Our compromised air quality is a crisis that we must all work urgently to address.
This week, the Department of Environmental Quality voted to adopt the life-saving Advanced Clean Cars II rule. This rule will transition all new light-duty vehicle sales to 100% pollution-free vehicles by 2035. Nationally, transitioning to clean transportation and power would avoid 110,000 premature deaths through 2050. With this vote, Oregon joins states across the nation that are leaders on pollution-free vehicle adoption.
Across our state, exposure to air pollution is cutting lives short. By adopting this rule, the DEQ is taking an important step to providing frontline communities across the state with relief while holding automakers accountable on their electric vehicle promises. Electrifying Oregon’s transportation sector as quickly as possible is critical to cleaning up our air and protecting our environment for this generation, and future generations to come.
Kullberg is a retired family doctor and former medical director for Multnomah County.
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