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Tina Kotek Will Seek to Give DEQ More Authority to Deny Permits to Bad Actors

The House Speaker wants the environmental regulator to be able to consider companies’ previous violations when evaluating applications.

House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) reacted strongly to the 2018 five-alarm fire at NW Metals, a car scrapping business located in her district.

Now she wants to prevent the scrapper from operating at a new location.

As WW reported last week, ("Hell on Wheels," March 3, 2021), the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is on the cusp of issuing NW Metals an operating permit, in part because the agency believes current law does not allow it to hold previous bad actions against applicants.

Kotek wants to close that loophole—and will introduce a bill that would allow the agency to consider an applicant's compliance history and deny permits to "chronic violators."

"Businesses that repeatedly violate our air quality and environmental standards put our communities in danger," Kotek said in a statement. "The DEQ should have the authority to deny permits based on multiple past violations so we can prevent avoidable catastrophes like the 2018 fire at NW Metals."