Intel's dirty not-so-little secret

By Seth Woolley of Portland, Oregon. Seth is a spokesperson for Portland Clean Air.

I’m pleased to announce to BlueOregon readers the new environmental nonprofit Portland Clean Air.

Portland Clean Air's mission is to improve our air quality by educating and activating people directly affected by toxic air emissions. By engaging with regulators and responsible entities, we advocate for real solutions to air pollution through participation in public processes.

Despite its green image, Portland ranks 3rd in the nation for census tracts at high risk for cancers caused by air pollution - only New York City and Los Angeles rank worse.

Portland Clean Air is the only organization doing direct, door-to-door mass outreach to inform the public and to recruit volunteers who share our vision of a truly green, sustainable city. We develop campaigns targeting specific sources of pollution.

Our current major campaign is to draw attention to Intel’s local factories that are behind the green technology times, increasing their hazardous air pollution.

Intel is currently asking for a major increase in toxic emission limits, the vast majority of which are related to their continued reliance upon fossil fuel energy consumption.

Today Portland is considering passing the nation's strongest fossil fuel restrictions, and many of us will be attending this meeting to cheer on this monumental victory for the planet.

But right next door in Hillsboro, tomorrow, there is another critically important public hearing over another major source of fossil fuel infrastructure: Intel's expansion of its D1X facility.

Intel is asking permission from the Department of Environmental Quality to emit the following toxics: 6.4 tons of fluorides, 39 tons sulfur dioxide, 229 tons carbon monoxide, 197 tons nitrogen oxides - as well as especially hazardous compounds like up to 9 tons of hydrogen fluoride, 9 tons hexane, 4 tons bromoform, 2.5 tons chlorine, 2 tons hydrogen cyanide, and 1.5 tons of methanol. It's Portland Clean Air's position that all socialization of pollution is wrong. The public should never be forced to incur the costs of pollution on behalf of the private sector, especially when the technology is available to mitigate the problem and there's no need to increase discharge rates.

What is most baffling is that Intel is also requesting DEQ allow them to increase their CO2 emissions by 260% to 819,000 tons annually. That’s roughly 1.5 tons per minute! At 819,000 tons of CO2 Intel would become the 5th worst greenhouse gas emitter in the State on the scale of a utility-grade natural gas fired power plant.

We need to let Intel and the DEQ/EPA know this is unacceptable and to follow the lead of other tech companies like Apple and Tesla that are building non-fossil-fuel utility-scale installations to power their own offices and datacenters and manufacturing centers.

Other tech companies are proving that Intel is capable of using utility-scale solar to avoid consuming massive amounts of fossil fuels.

This Thursday, November 5th at the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 East Main St. there will be a public hearing from 6 to 9 p.m. If you live within 25 miles of Intel’s Hillsboro facility seen in the picture above or their Aloha chip-making plant you’ll want to come to this hearing to request Intel lower their hazardous air pollution and to stop using fossil fuels to power processes at its local manufacturing plants that have received huge state and local tax breaks despite major layoffs.

Please consider joining Portland Clean Air this Thursday to make your voice heard.

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