The first meeting of the newly created Intel Air Quality Advisory Committee – established after the company admitted last year to emitting fluoride for decades in Washington County – will be held Wednesday night at the Hillsboro Public Library’s Shute Park branch.
The committee is comprised of representatives from Intel and two watchdog groups, Neighbors for Clean Air and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, which had threatened to sue the company for failing to disclose its fluoride emissions.
The chipmaker agreed in a settlement with the two groups to take an emissions inventory, perform an air quality risk assessment and publicly release monitoring data taken at its Aloha and Ronler Acres factories. The Air Quality Advisory Committee will oversee that work and also advise the three parties as they negotiate a “good neighbor agreement.”
The company first acknowledged that it had failed to disclose fluoride emissions when it sought environmental permits for its D1X project – two new research factories worth more than $6 billion and currently under construction.
The state Department of Environmental Quality found that Intel should have disclosed the emissions in 2004 and gotten a stricter permit before beginning construction of D1X. But the state agency allowed work to continue and fined the tech giant $143,000 earlier this year.
The DEQ ruled that Intel had to get a new construction permit and include the fluoride emissions in its application. Intel also applied in 2013 for a federal Title V permit, which “most large sources…of air pollution” are required to obtain, according to the EPA. But that process was put on hold after news of the fluoride emissions surfaced.
Because of a recent United States Supreme Court ruling, Intel may not have to obtain the Title V permit, and the company could also avoid regulation under the Environmental Protection Agency’s rigorous Prevention of Significant Deterioration program.
The DEQ could still require Intel to abide by the stricter rules, but state officials have temporarily aligned the agency with the Supreme Court ruling and will vote on a permanent rule early next year.
In August, Hillsboro and Washington County officials approved a historic 30-year deal with Intel that will grant the company more than $2 billion in potential property tax breaks on up to $100 billion in local investment.
The public is invited to the Air Quality Advisory Committee meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at 775 S.E. Tenth Ave.
*This story has been updated to reflect a change in the meeting’s location due to a scheduling error. The meeting’s original location was at the main branch of the Hillsboro Public Library on Brookwood Parkway. It’s now being held at the Shute Park branch.