On Friday June 6, 2014, a workshop was held at PCC, on the link between air quality and risks to public health. The forum was sponsored by two Oregon legislators: Rep. Mitch Greenlick (Chair of the House Health Care Committee), and Senator Mike Dembrow (Chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee).
The forum focused on two air quality problems:
- Aviation lead emissions at Hillsboro Airport, and
- Industrial emissions of hydrogen fluoride and other hazardous gasses.
Hillsboro Aviation has been recruiting student pilots from China and elsewhere; they then provide flight training (mostly helicopters) and burn leaded aviation fuel while intensively flying around airport practice areas. Miki Barnes and Dr. Jim Lubischer of Oregon Aviation Watch (OAW) offered a presentation about the lead impact at Hillsboro Airport. The Port of Portland is currently working to start construction of a new parallel runway at Hillsboro, using FAA funds. Hillsboro is an unusual airport, in that the majority of its traffic is for the flight training of imported students. OAW’s position is that the Port and FAA are effectively subsidizing this flight training at the expense of local community health. And, the principle beneficiary is the one business with the large fleet of training helicopters: Hillsboro Aviation.
Intel and other semiconductor manufacturers use a variety of gasses in their industrial processes. Some of these are released into the atmosphere in a controlled process, and occasionally they escape uncontrolled. There has been a long history of failures to disclose details of hazardous gas emissions.
For both air quality issues, the emissions problem is greatly magnified by the attitudes of the key parties (the sources, as well the regulators). Intel, FAA, the Port, and others continue to fail to ensure full transparency to the Public.
Luke Hammill covered the event with a news-blog at OregonLive.com, which generated the usual polarized comments.