A commission charged with balancing economic growth and natural resources in the Columbia Gorge is being sued over its air quality plan.
The gorge acts as a funnel trapping pollution from urban areas to the west and farms to the east. In September, the gorge commission adopted a formal strategy to control air pollution. That prompted a lawsuit by the group Friends of the Columbia Gorge. Michael Lang is their conservation director. He says the strategy doesn’t address new sources of pollution in the region.
“For example if a power plant is proposed in the boundary of a national scenic area they should be required to meet the strictest air quality standards to protect air quality in the Columbia River Gorge or not be approved,” he says.
Lang says his group is concerned about proposed natural gas plants in Oregon and coal export terminals in Washington. Harold Abbe is a gorge commissioner. He had no comment on the lawsuit. But he said the commission has no authority outside the boundaries of the gorge scenic area.
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