Legislation to Address Negative Impacts of Aviation

January 11, 2017

In recent months members of Oregon Aviation Watch met with various Oregon Senators and Representatives to explore possible legislative solutions for addressing the negative impacts of aviation activity. We would like to extend our thanks to Senator Chuck Riley and Representatives Mitch Greenlick, Ken Helm, Susan McLain, and former Rep. Joe Gallegos for their support and advice throughout this process.

We are grateful and pleased to announce that there are now several bills in the Oregon legislature. Two are sponsored by Senator Riley:

Senate Bill 115
Phases out leaded aviation fuel, resulting in a ban on leaded aviation fuel use in OR by 2022. See https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Measures/Overview/SB115.
Senate Bill 128
Creates the Hillsboro and Troutdale Airport Authorities as divisions of the Port of Portland. See https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Measures/Overview/SB128.

In the House, Rep. Mitch Greenlick is sponsoring:

House Bill 2109
Prohibits the use of leaded aviation fuel as of January 1, 2022. See https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Measures/Overview/HB2109.

Please contact your senators and representatives to express support for this legislation.

Lead Toxicity

As elucidated in a 10/24/16 Earthjustice press release urging President Obama's Task Force on Environmental Health and Safety Risks to Children to put an end to lead poisoning and exposure of children (See Coalition Calls for End to Lead Poisoning and Exposure):

Lead is a potent neurotoxin with no safe level of exposure. Elevated blood lead levels harm young children's developing brains, leading to learning disabilities, loss of IQ points, and behavioral problems. Government scientists have concluded that lead is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." In addition, prolonged exposure to lead is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and reduced fertility. The human body mistakes lead for calcium, prompting our bodies to store lead in our teeth and bones. Failure to prevent lead poisoning in childhood affects future generations: lead in pregnant women can cross the placenta and build up in breast milk, meaning children's harmful exposure to lead often begins before birth and continues through infancy...The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and independent scientists all agree that there is no safe level of human lead exposure. And yet, the CDC estimates that over a half million preschool age children in the United States have levels of lead in their blood high enough to require medical case management.

Hillsboro Airport ranks 21st out of nearly 20,000 airports nationwide in airborne lead emissions. This facility releases close to a ton of this pernicious toxin into the air each year during the landing and take-off phase of flight. Additional lead is emitted during pre-flight run-ups and in the cruise phase. Troutdale Airport is currently the largest source of lead emissions in Multnomah County. The majority of users of these airports are student pilots most of whom are training through the Hillsboro Aero Academy.

Hillsboro and Troutdale Airport Authorities - Senate Bill 128

The creation of Hillsboro and Troutdale Airport Authorities as divisions of the Port of Portland insures that elected representatives with accountability to the public would oversee these general aviation airports. To date, unelected Port of Portland commissioners routinely make decisions at meetings held in Portland. The residents who bear the brunt of the noise, environmental pollution, property devaluation, safety and security risks posed by these aviation business interests are seldom considered.

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