DEQ asks for community input on enforcement policy
Date: May 22, 2023
In early June, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will be holding two virtual listening sessions to discuss updating its Supplemental Environmental Project policy, in which funds from violations can go towards a community project that benefits public health or the environment. The focus of these listening sessions is to hear how community-based organizations and communities thinks DEQ could update the policy to be more equitable and accessible.
DEQ enforces environmental laws to protect Oregon’s air, land and water. The DEQ Office of Compliance and Enforcement issues fines and requires violators to correct violations. Typically, these fines go to the state of Oregon general fund. DEQ’s Supplemental Environmental Project policy allows up to 80% of fines to go to projects that benefit human health and the environment.
“We know that many violations occur in already overburdened communities and DEQ will continue to hold violators accountable,” said Kieran O’Donnell, manager for the Office of Compliance and Enforcement. “We’re looking for direction from the public on how DEQ may incorporate the principles of environmental justice into the SEP policy, so that overburdened communities can drive the project selection process.”
These initial listening sessions are scheduled at the times below. Spanish interpretation will be available.
In addition, DEQ is planning on hosting regular open meetings starting in fall 2023, so potential SEP recipients and the public have easy access to DEQ staff. Feedback can also be provided by email at email@example.com.
This work is the result of a partnership between DEQ enforcement and a number of community-based organizations that have asked DEQ to provide more information about SEPs and to evaluate how the policy could be improved.