Oregonians' "common experience" with wildfire smoke "confirms that it is fairly easy to determine" when smoke is present and affecting air quality, attorneys for Oregon OSHA argued.

A federal magistrate Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Oregon OSHA that claimed the state agency’s new heat and smoke rules violated the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution and were unenforceable.

In an oral argument to Magistrate Mark D. Clarke, attorneys for Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce, Associated Oregon Loggers, and Oregon Forest and Industries Council contended air quality fluctuates due to a number of factors, not just wildfire smoke.

“Most times, it’s not obvious,” attorney James Anderson said in a December hearing over the phone. “There’s no method to determine that air quality is due to wildfire smoke, or prescribed burn smoke, or other things that make up particulates.”

Clarke was not convinced.

“Why is it that complicated?” Clarke asked Anderson. “[Oregonians] are very familiar with wildfire smoke. I’m not sure any of us have any trouble knowing when wildfire smoke rolls in. I’m having trouble with that, factually.”

Daniel Quiñones, an outreach worker for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, shares information about OSHA rules and heat illness prevention at Sandy Ridge Berry Farms in Brooks, in August 2021.

The suit claimed OSHA’s permanent rules meant to protect workers against extreme heat and wildfire smoke were too vague to be reasonably enforced and therefore violated employers’ 14th Amendment rights.

The suit was filed June 15, half a month before heat rules took effect and a month before wildfire rules took effect. It requested, among other things, an injunction to prevent the new rules from being enforced. The injunction, however, was not granted.

Source link

Call Now Button