Merkley, Wyden Announce Over $1 Million for Oregon for Air Quality Monitoring Projects

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and
Ron Wyden announced that a total of $1,116,626 in federal grants is coming to
Oregon to improve air quality monitoring in communities with environmental and
health outcome disparities stemming from pollution. These awards from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will support projects by Verde in
Portland’s Cully neighborhood, the Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua
& Siuslaw Indians, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s
work to monitor and use collected air quality data to inform actions for
improving local air quality across the state.

“Every Oregonian in every community across the state
deserves to breathe clean air free from hazardous air pollutants that can lead
to cancer, neurological disorders and other serious health impairments,” said
Senator Merkley, who is chairman of the committee that provides EPA with its
funding. “This EPA funding will go a long way in ensuring communities are able
to monitor air quality, collect detailed data on the toxic air pollution, and
take meaningful steps to address it.”

“An essential step in reducing air pollution for communities
throughout Oregon is to equip them with modern monitoring tools that provide
accurate and timely data,” Wyden said. “These federal investments in those
tools from legislation I worked to pass will make a huge difference for people
living and working in these communities. And I’ll keep battling for similar
investments that make similar air quality impacts statewide.”

With over $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
(IRA) funds and $20 million in American Rescue Plan investments on top of
increases to its annual budget that Merkley has provided since becoming
chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, EPA has
been able to significantly expand its support for projects led by
community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and
Tribal governments aimed at improving air quality in communities across the
United States, and particularly in communities that are underserved and
historically marginalized. 

Award recipients and amounts headed to Oregon can be found

  • Verde: $117,830 to collaborate with partners to gather air
    quality data using air monitors and create actionable community engagement
    strategies to ameliorate air quality concerns in Portland, Oregon’s Cully neighborhood.
    Project efforts will result in the development of long-term expertise among the
    Cully community and unprecedented grassroots involvement in regulatory
    processes that could significantly improve air quality for Cully residents.
  • Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw
    Indians: $500,000 to increase community engagement on outdoor and indoor air
    quality, and develop a network of air quality monitors. Through the use of
    reliable and accurate monitoring equipment, the project aims to improve data
    collection on local air quality and mitigate adverse health impacts due to air
    pollution exposure.
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality: $498,796 to work
    with communities, universities, and local and state agencies to co-design an
    equitable and sustainable community monitoring framework for collaborative
    action. This framework will be used to empower communities- prioritizing
    underserved, disadvantaged and overburdened communities- to monitor and
    leverage the data to inform action that will improve their local air quality.