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Report: Oregon’s inspection backlog endangers air quality

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) – State auditors say the state environmental agency’s backlog of inspections and permits could endanger Oregon’s air quality and residents’ health.

The Statesman Journal reports the Oregon Audits Division’s report made public Wednesday shows 43 percent of the state’s largest air polluters are operating with expired permits.

Auditors say the expired permits mean that businesses are not meeting the most recent environmental standards.

The state Department of Environmental Quality told auditors that it does not have a system for tracking when inspections are due.

Department Director Richard Whitman says the problems stem partially from declining funding.

Whitman says the department has begun addressing the problems identified in the report, and it is developing a plan to present to the state Legislature in 2019 to better fund the permitting and inspection work.

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