Moms Fight to Keep our Families Healthy and Safe
Moms Clean Air Force is fighting for strong, protective rules and laws that will help keep our families healthy and safe from harmful air pollution and climate change.
Thanks to the continued support of our donors, Moms Clean Air Force (Moms) has mobilized our more than one million members to help secure important victories at the federal, state, and local level to protect our children, families, and communities from the harmful effects of air pollution and climate change. As our priorities have come into alignment with the new administration and Congress, Moms is in a strong position to make meaningful progress on the issues we care most about.
With your help, we have pursued bipartisan support for oil and gas pollution protections, electric school buses, cleaner passenger vehicles, and bold investments in a climate-safe future—while also supporting legislation to protect Black maternal health from climate impacts. We have worked tirelessly to build community around these issues and share our perspectives with lawmakers at all levels of government through online events, virtual meetings, and the media.
We are grateful for your commitment to ensuring the health of all communities, and we are pleased to share highlights of our progress in 2021 that you helped make possible.
2021 BY THE NUMBERS
- Moms’ online advocacy generated more than 188,000 messages to Congress and regulatory agencies on key climate and human health issues.
- Moms hosted or participated in 80 events elevating the need for bold climate action from Congress.
- Moms made more than 250 legislative visits advocating for strong climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act and Infrastructure Package, and more than 4 million people engaged with Moms’ social media posts related to these bills.
Legislative and Regulatory Campaigns for Change
Moms Clean Air Force mobilizes and helps elevate the voices of moms who are committed to protecting their children’s health. We organize moms to meet with elected officials, participate in public hearings, submit comments to public dockets, make phone calls to lawmaker offices at strategic moments, and call for the action we need through traditional media outlets and social media channels. These efforts are helping us ensure progress on a range of pressing issues, detailed below.
Regulating Methane Emissions
Every year, more than 13 million tons of methane—a powerful climate pollutant—leak from the US oil and gas industry. In April, Moms supported the Senate resolution to reinstate commonsense methane pollution protections that can address this issue. Mom’s Public Health Policy Director Molly Rauch was invited to join Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and three other Senators at an in-person press conference at the Capitol, and as the only outside speaker at the event, she represented the many grassroots and environmental groups that support methane protections.
Hours after the event, in a bipartisan vote, the Senate passed a resolution to reinstate vital methane pollution protections from the oil and gas industry.
Moms continued to apply pressure on Representatives to support the resolution—through meetings, phone calls, emails, social media, and traditional media—all the way up to the victorious bipartisan House vote on June 25. At the same time, EPA hosted a series of public listening sessions to gather stakeholder input on how to limit methane pollution from existing oil and gas sources. More than 20 Moms Clean Air Force members participated in these virtual listening sessions, adding their personal perspectives on climate change and the oil and gas industry into the EPA’s formal docket.
On November 2, the EPA proposed rules to limit methane pollution from both new and existing sources of oil and gas pollution, opening a multi-month regulatory process that has the potential to secure major reductions in climate-harming methane pollution. Thirty-eight Moms Clean Air Force staff and volunteers from 13 states and DC delivered testimony at EPA’s three-day public hearing about the proposed methane rules in late November and early December.
Moms will continue to work throughout this rulemaking process to support the strongest and most comprehensive rules to protect children’s health from all sources of oil and gas methane pollution, including low-producing wells, routine flaring, and polluting equipment like pneumatic controllers.
Building Support for the Build Back Better Act
In March, President Biden proposed the American Jobs Plan—the single largest investment in solving the climate crisis that the US has ever seen. Over several months, the American Jobs Plan evolved into two separate but parallel congressional efforts to increase spending on infrastructure, social services, climate action, and environmental justice.
In August, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework—a portion of the original American Jobs Plan—in the form of a $1.2 trillion package to shore up the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure and cut pollution that is fueling climate change. In early November, the House passed the infrastructure package, paving the way for President Biden to sign the bill on November 15. At the same time, the White House worked on a spending package—the Build Back Better Act—to move through Congress via the budget reconciliation process, requiring only a simple majority to pass the Senate. This bill, which passed the House on November 19, will invest more than $555 billion in a zero-pollution, clean energy future, directing funds to the communities that need them most.
The Build Back Better Act, in combination with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, will help families breathe easier on multiple levels: it will increasingly cut carbon and methane pollution from our economy and drive critical investments into modern infrastructure and clean energy—all while putting more Americans to work in permanent, good-paying jobs. We recognize this as a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to invest in public health, climate solutions, and modern, resilient infrastructure.
That is why, since March, Moms members and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure these bills include strong provisions that put us on a path to climate safety. Our all-out campaign included meeting with more than 200 members of Congress, congressional staff, and agency and White House officials, urging them to ensure the final bills support bold climate action. We also raised our voices in both local and national media.
The infrastructure package includes many key provisions that Moms spent the summer advocating for, including school bus electrification, electric vehicle charging stations, lead pipe replacements, and the cleanup of oil and gas pollution from “orphan wells.” We continue to advocate for key provisions to be included in the final Build Back Better framework, including Black maternal health protections, improving air monitoring systems, transitioning heavy-duty trucks to electric vehicles, investing in the clean energy economy, limiting methane pollution from oil and gas operations, making electric vehicles more affordable, and investing in environmental justice.
Electrifying School Buses
Millions of children still ride to school in diesel-powered buses where they are exposed to harmful pollution that can trigger asthma attacks and impede their ability to learn. Moms has been urging members of Congress to electrify the nation’s fleet of yellow school buses, and multiple bills were introduced in this Congress that include funding to drive this important transition. The recently passed infrastructure package included $5 billion that can be directed toward electrifying school buses—a strong first step in spurring this needed transition.
Moms Clean Air Force has been front and center in the discussion around this policy priority. We ramped up our advocacy this summer, hosting a series of “Let’s Get Rolling” events in several cities across the country where we highlighted the benefits of electric school buses and the country’s readiness to transition America’s fleet of more than 450,000 diesel school buses to zero-emission electric buses. In total, we held 18 Let’s Get Rolling events with moms, health professionals, community members, school officials, bus manufacturers, and local, state and federal government and elected officials.
Protecting the Health of Black Mothers and Newborns
Since January 20, we have voiced our support for several Biden administration announcements that address the climate crisis and environmental justice. We have also supported an outpouring of health- protective pollution-fighting bills introduced in the 117th Congress. In February, we were especially thrilled to welcome a suite of 12 bills designed to address the devastatingly high rate of maternal and infant mortality among Black women and their babies. The Momnibus will (1) invest in organizations that are working to improve the health of mothers and their babies, (2) grow and diversify the ranks of nurses, midwives, doulas, and other birthing professionals who help support pregnant women and their newborns, and (3) improve the conditions of the spaces where people live, learn, work, and play in order to improve the health of mothers and newborns.
One of the bills in the Momnibus, the Protecting Moms and Babies from Climate Change Act, was written in part at the urging of Moms Clean Air Force. This climate-focused bill invests in community- based programs and calls for the identification of climate risk zones for pregnant and postpartum people. We continue to keep the pressure on to ensure that the provisions of the Momnibus, including the landmark climate change provisions, are included in the final Build Back Better Act.
Strengthening Clean Car Standards
In June, Moms staff, organizers, and volunteers called on the EPA to slash climate pollution from cars at a virtual public hearing.
Though we have participated in dozens of public hearings over the years, this one was special: this was the first climate-related public hearing since President Biden took office. The hearing was about an EPA proposal to restore long-standing state authority to protect residents from climate pollution from cars, which was stripped away under the Trump administration. Under the leadership of Administrator Michael Regan, EPA proposed to reinstate California’s authority to set stricter climate pollution standards for cars and light trucks—and give any states that wish to adopt California’s standards the power to do so.
Forty Moms Clean Air Force moms testified at this hearing, out of a total of roughly 120 participants. This outpouring of engagement highlighted the growing tidal wave of public support for bold climate action. Our moms shared personal stories and voiced their strong support for restoring state authority to protect families from pollution. We also called on EPA to go one step further: to set stronger standards for climate pollution from passenger vehicles.
In August, EPA proposed this important next step in limiting pollution from cars and hosted a public hearing that same month on addressing climate pollution from light-duty vehicles—one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions in the US. Thirty Moms staff, organizers, and volunteers delivered compelling testimony over the course of this two-day hearing held by telephone, joining a diverse coalition of partners advocating for the strongest possible tailpipe emissions standards for cars, SUVs, and light trucks. Together with this coalition, we delivered our more than 200,000 written comments to EPA Administrator Michael Regan at the close of the public comment period in September, urging the agency to finalize the boldest and strongest possible cleaner cars standards.
Our advocacy around clean transportation has included other important initiatives. We have joined with a group of partners to call Toyota out on its anti-climate-action lobbying through a hard-hitting corporate accountability website and corresponding social media campaign. We have also maintained pressure on the EPA to limit harmful pollution from heavy-duty trucks by sharing our stories in the media and via a joint sign-on letter to the EPA and President Biden.
Expanding the Power of Moms
Climate change and air pollution are a threat to everyone, but communities of color and low-income communities face the greatest risks. They are hit “first and worst” by climate change, and they are disproportionately exposed to harmful air pollution. Moms has expanded our environmental justiceoutreach programs to engage more deeply with families that bear the heaviest burdens of air pollution and climate impacts.
Moms is expanding our EcoMadres program to bring more Latina moms together to address issues such as clean air, climate, and toxins that affect the health of Latino families. EcoMadres has a vibrant network of state-based field teams and allies in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico,and Texas. These teams educate, engage, and empower members to have conversations with lawmakers about environmental impacts on our children’s health.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, EcoMadres has been hosting virtual “cafecitos” to strengthen our outreach and engagement with the Latino community. These events, often held in both English and Spanish, have reached tens of thousands of viewers. This year’s cafecitos have covered topics such as Hispanic Heritage Month, World Asthma Day, air quality monitoring in Colorado, climate change in Florida, climate action in Texas, Women’s History Month, President Biden’s climate commitments, and more.
Moms Clean Air Force is steadily growing our Community Rx program, which is focused on advocacy in Black communities. Guided by the principle of Justice in Every Breath, we are highlighting the connections among racial justice, COVID-19 disparities, and climate change. We are taking a stand against environmental injustice, holding legislators accountable for the lack of resources in communities of color, and educating communities on the issues they face and their rights.
In January and February, Community Rx co-hosted a virtual “Faith Leaders Civic Engagement Academy” event with South Carolina Interfaith Power & Light. This three-day training, held in collaboration with the South Carolina Office of Minority Affairs and Audubon of South Carolina, educated participants on how to organize to bring about much needed change in their communities. The series helped a group of 20 faith leaders better understand policy matters in South Carolina and taught them how to advocate in those spaces with their local representatives.
In March and April, Community Rx co-hosted two virtual screenings of the film The Human Element with South Carolina Interfaith Power & Light. Capturing the lives of everyday Americans on the front lines of climate change, The Human Element recognizes that humans are an important element of nature that are altering all other elements: earth, air, water, and fire. After viewing The Human Element, South Carolinians from the faith, political, and education sectors came together for a discussion about our relationship with the natural world and solutions for restoring balance and ensuring a more sustainable future. The two screenings were viewed by a total of 1,000 people.
In an effort to deepen our commitment to environmental justice, Moms has expanded our work in Indigenous communities through a new partnership with the National Tribal Air Association. In April, our groups released a joint report, “Indigenous People and Air Pollution in the United States,” which details the harm that air pollution and climate change cause to Indigenous communities and Tribal lands in the US. We have been sharing this report with members of Congress, as well as Tribal groups across the country.
Moms has also launched a series of online conversations on air pollution and climate change featuring Indigenous moms, which has allowed us to ramp up our outreach with this population. In July, we joined with partners and allies to welcome a totem pole to Washington, DC, from the House of Tears carvers of the Lummi Nation. The cross-country tour, called the Red Road to DC, has connected leaders of 20 different Native-led struggles against dams, climate change, and extractive industries that are threatening sacred lands, waters, and wildlife.
Additionally, in honor of Indigenous People’s Day, we highlighted stories from our network of Indigenous moms on our blog and on social media. And in honor of Native American Heritage Month, we launched a video series featuring Indigenous women discussing history, climate change, and environmental justice.
In 2021, Moms Clean Air Force has published or been featured in more than 300 news stories in leading national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Hill, USA Today, and DAME. These news pieces have elevated Moms’ unique perspective and influence on the many issues we work on, and they have helped activate moms across the country to engage in local, state, and federal advocacy. For a complete list of our media coverage in 2021, please see our website.
We are grateful for your generous support, which has enabled us to activate frontline communities and elevate their members’ voices on the most pressing environmental issues they face. Thanks to you, moms across the country are driving change in their local communities and influencing national level policy and regulations to protect the health and future of all our children and families.