Merkley Statement on Biden Administration’s Proposed Rule to Protect Workers Nationwide from Wildfire Smoke, Extreme Heat

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today issued the following statement after the Biden administration announced new efforts to increase protections for workers against extreme weather:

“When extreme heat takes over or wildfire smoke blankets our communities, it’s dangerous for public health and hinders everyday life. As these threats increase in Oregon and across the country, these protections will aid workers during extreme weather events with the first-ever federal safety standard on extreme heat in the workplace.

“Our workers put their health and safety on the line to keep America running—they deserve the strongest possible protections from extreme heat and wildfire smoke fueled by climate chaos.

“At my town halls in each of Oregon’s 36 counties every year, I hear directly from Oregonians about what matters most to them, especially the need to confront the threats posed by wildfires, smoke, and excessive heat that are fueled by climate chaos. I have made it one of my top priorities to ensure the federal government provides our communities with the necessary resources they need to not only battle blazes but also protect themselves from the dangerous smoke and heat that has unfortunately become expected during these increasingly hot and dry summer months. I will keep working to ensure the administration takes the threat to public health seriously and follows through on their commitments.”

Merkley has long advocated for federal resources, solutions, and investments to combat increasingly extreme heat events and wildfire seasons that are longer and more intense. Last summer, he introduced the Ley de Comunidades Preparadas para el Humo y el Calor y Ley de declaración de emergencia por humo de incendios forestales to bolster federal collaboration and assistance in the face of these threats. He has also introduced the Farmworker Smoke and Excessive Heat Protection Act to set up protections for farmworkers facing the dangers of wildfire smoke and extreme weather.