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Smoke ban is proposed for beaches in Oregon

BANDON — Proposed rules that would restrict smoking of tobacco products on the ocean shore recreation area will be open for public comment through Aug. 29. Comments will be taken by email and through a series of four public hearings in August.

Rules that restrict smoking on Oregon state park properties were approved in February by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission. Education about the new rule is taking place through 2014 and enforcement will begin in 2015.

Previous public comments related to the state park no smoking rule asked the department to undertake a similar effort on the ocean shore, which is adjacent to many state parks, according to a news release from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Citing environmental issues as a primary concern — plastic cigarette butts can persist for years, even in the harsh beach environment — the commission approved a staff request to consider a smoking rule for the ocean shore. After listening to public comment between now and Aug. 29, the department plans to present information to the commission Sept. 17 at its meeting near Silverton, and return Nov. 19 with a final recommendation at the Astoria meeting.

Public comment will play a key role in the decision to create a rule. Comments can be sent to the department through regular mail to OPRD Beach Smoking, 725 Summer St. NE, Suite C, Salem, OR 97301, by email to oprd.publiccomment@oregon.gov, or in person at one of four public hearings scheduled in August. All hearings begin at 7 p.m. at the locations listed below:

Aug. 20: Seaside Public Library, 1131 Broadway, Seaside. Aug. 21: Central Lincoln PUD, 2129 N Coast Highway, Newport. Aug. 26: Coos Bay Public Library, 525 Anderson Ave., Coos Bay. Aug. 28: North Mall Office Building, 725 Summer Street NE, Salem.

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