Oregon Legislature Sends Bill on Idling Limits to Governor

The Oregon legislature approved a measure that would restrict truck idling while also preventing local governments from implementing their own anti-idling regulations.

Under the legislation, trucks would not be allowed to idle their engines for more than five minutes in a 60-minute period.

Approved by the Oregon House on June 2 and the Senate on May 31, the legislation grandfathers current local idling laws but prohibits new ones from being passed, in an attempt to provide truckers with consistency.

“No city or county can create their own idling regulations, which was really important to us,” said Debra Dunn, president of the Oregon Trucking Associations.

Dunn said OTA pressed for a uniform idling standard across the state, noting that some towns and counties wanted the power to have stricter laws than the state one.

The bill also authorizes the state and local police to enforce the anti-idling regulation, rather than the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

In earlier versions of the measure, DEQ would have been granted the authority to set and enforce idling regulations, but truckers prefer to work with local and state law enforcement, Dunn said.

“It creates a situation we didn’t want to see — the Department of Environmental Quality having authority over us,” Dunn said.

Instead, citizens now will be able to complain about idling directly to their local police departments and get it resolved immediately, she added.

The legislation carves out exemptions to the idling maximum, such as for maintenance or for heating or cooling at extreme temperatures.

The original bill also would have allowed DEQ to regulate truck engines in the state for emissions, a provision excluded in the final bill.

The bill was awaiting the signature of Gov. John Kitzhaber (D).