This was written by Melody Reis, Moms Clean Air Force’s Senior Legislative Manager:
States should have the ability to make their air as safe and clean as possible. For more than 50 years, US states have had the explicit right granted under the Clean Air Act to protect their residents’ health by adopting air pollution standards for trucks that are stronger than the federal standards.
California is currently seeking EPA’s approval of its standards for heavy-duty vehicle pollution and rules to accelerate the transition to zero-emissions vehicles. But EPA is considering denying approval of these important standards. EPA must let California lead the way — as it has done historically on tailpipe pollution.
The heavy-duty vehicles that pollute our air are a primary source of toxic tailpipe pollution that affects the health of children and families and makes climate change worse. These vehicles make up less than 10% of all vehicles on the road, but they are responsible for more than 25% of the climate pollution from the transportation sector.
Neighborhoods near ports and shipping hubs — often referred to as “asthma alleys” or “diesel death zones” — are most harmed by these pollutants. This is not acceptable. These neighborhoods are also historically home to low-income families and people of color. Diesel pollution is an environmental justice issue.
Fortunately, we have readily available technologies that can cut harmful tailpipe pollution and reduce climate and health impacts in our communities. Cleaner vehicles are here, and states are demanding them. Oregon, Washington, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have already adopted California’s truck pollution rule, and more states are starting to follow suit.
The time to act on transportation pollution is now, and over the last year, Biden’s EPA has made progress in setting strong pollution standards for cars and trucks. We cannot start to backpedal.
Our communities are suffering from poor air quality; they are experiencing mega drought, extreme heat, and intense wildfires. We simply cannot delay. States must have the ability to set stronger tailpipe pollution standards.
Join parents in urging EPA to approve California’s stronger pollution standards for heavy-duty trucks.