As a physician, I spent 20 years in a clinic in downtown Portland, where I worked closely with low-income and homeless people. I saw firsthand the impact of air pollution from cars on frontline communities living near major roads. It’s clear that our dependence on fossil fuels directly threatens the health and safety of all Oregonians.
Air pollution from vehicles poses a significant health burden to communities across Oregon. Persistent air quality alerts from a variety of pollutants, including vehicles, wildfires and other climate-related impacts, are a reminder that clean air is becoming increasingly difficult to come by. Impaired air quality is a crisis that we all must address urgently.
This week, the Department of Environmental Quality decided to adopt the life-saving Advanced Clean Car II Rule. The rule will shift all new small car sales to 100% clean vehicles by 2035. Nationwide, 110,000 premature deaths could be averted by 2050 by transitioning to clean transport and electricity. With this vote, Oregon joins the nation’s leader states. Adoption of pollution-free vehicles.
Across our state, exposure to air pollution is claiming lives. By adopting this rule, DEQ is taking an important step toward providing relief to frontline communities statewide while also holding automakers accountable for their electric vehicle promise. Electrifying Oregon’s transportation sector as soon as possible is critical to cleaning the air and preserving the environment for this and future generations.
Kulberg is a former family physician and former medical director of Multnomah County.
To read more of the letter to the editor, oregonlive.com/opinion.
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