Senator Merkley introduces wildfire smoke mitigation legislation

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has introduced two bills intended
to mitigate the effects of wildfire smoke. Today, the Smoke-Ready Communities
Act and the Smoke Planning and Research Act received a hearing in front of the Environment and
Public Works committee.

Dr. Cassandra Moseley, a U of O professor in the Institute
for a Sustainable Environment, spoke to the committee, saying “Wildfire smoke
is rapidly increasing public health risk, affecting not only rural communities
that are located near these fires, but increasingly in major urban centers
hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Households and individuals need to be
prepared to act quickly when smoke arrives, and yet many lack the information
about the practical steps they can take to keep themselves safe.”

Moseley identified five ways the bills address public health
risk. Among them were looking into the root causes of wildfires, improving
smoke monitoring and forecasting, and creating clean air shelters.