Update on the Environmental Impacts of Teargas

Last week we asked everyone to nag Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality and Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services about a request for information regarding the effects of teargas on the environment.

A few days ago, the City of Portland finally released the results of a survey of CS gas residue in the city’s sewer system and found that the chemical, commonly used in teargas and pepper spray, dilutes enough before reaching the Willamette River that it isn’t a serious threat. This is good news but certainly not the complete picture. It doesn’t address what the effects on local plant and wildlife might be or what impacts it will have on the city for years to come.

It’s also notably not a report from the Oregon DEQ, which has still released no information whatsoever about the environmental impacts of police munitions.

Additionally, the city has issued the General Services Administration a $20,000 fine for denying access to a sewer drain. If the feds don’t move the fence by September 14th (bold prediction: they won’t), Portland will fine them an additional $20,000 every day until they comply. This is in addition to the running bill—now more than 2.5 million dollars—for the fence blocking a bike line.

Will they pay up? Unlikely. But it’s a very Portland way to handle this kind of thing, don’t you think?


A Case for Optimism

Editor’s Preface to the Open Letter to Kate Brown