Moms Clean Air Force understands that democracy works best when we count every single vote. Our vote is our voice. Regardless of the election outcome, our members will keep raising our voices to protect our children’s health and future.
CRUSADING AGAINST ENERGY CORRUPTION IN OHIO
In a scandal that rocked Ohio and made national news in July, Ohio House Bill 6 (HB6) was revealed to be at the center of a $61 million bribery scheme designed to bail out a sinking energy company to the tune of $1.3 billion. FBI agents arrested and charged one of the most powerful officials in Ohio state government, Republican House speaker Larry Householder, along with four of his political associates in a case thought to be the largest money-laundering scheme in Ohio history. HB6 would charge every consumer in the state of Ohio a monthly fee paid back to this corrupt utility to keep two nuclear plants and two of the region’s dirtiest coal plants afloat at the expense of support for renewables such as wind and solar. Now, a broad coalition of groups including Moms Clean Air Force is working overtime to repeal HB6. Our Ohio field organizer, Tracy Sabetta, hosted three virtual hearings to give the public an opportunity to voice their concerns to lawmakers, telling the media including Highland County Press: “Even before the scandal became front page news, HB6 was widely opposed by Ohioans because it bailed out nuclear and coal plants at a cost of over $1 billion to Ohio consumers, puts 114,000 clean energy jobs at risk and strips away the clean energy program that has protected Ohioans’ health during this pandemic.” Tracy also took aim at her state legislators for dragging their feet on a course correction: “Ohioans can’t afford to wait to have their voices heard on why this bill is bad for their health, their pocketbooks and their economic future. Our legislators have failed us in demonstrating the leadership we deserve. That is why these hearings have been organized — to ensure the public is part of the discussion.”
On October 29th, two of those indicted in the scandal entered guilty pleas to racketeering activities directly and specifically tied to the passage of HB6. Hours later, FirstEnergy fired their CEO Chuck Jones and other key executives. We applaud Tracy and everyone working tirelessly behind the scenes to repeal a law that fails Ohioans on every important test: human health, financial health, and planetary health. Watch all three hearings, during which nearly 70 witnesses testified in support of a repeal of HB6, here.
WHY CLEAN CARS WOULD HELP THIS MOM SLEEP AT NIGHT
Columba Sainz, our Arizona field organizer, was interviewed by USA Today for national and state-level stories about how environmental rollbacks affect Arizona residents. In a section on the rollback on the Clean Car Standards, Columba shares why weakening tailpipe standards for cars and trucks imperils her family’s health. As a mom of three living in a county where vehicles are the largest contributor to ozone pollution, Columba is already deeply concerned about air pollution: “Sometimes, Columba Sainz can’t sleep, her ears pricked for the sound of a wheeze or a cough from her young daughter’s room.” She knows the rollback spells trouble: “Make no mistake, this rollback will make the situation my family experiences — staying up all night worrying about a child who is struggling to breathe — even more common.” The rollback significantly weakens US efforts to cut climate pollution. And worsening climate change means more heat waves and more ground level ozone, or smog. “The rollback of the clean car standards undermines our country’s most significant climate-fighting regulation,” Columba says. “We have to reduce the pollution causing climate change, to protect our children’s health.”
CLIMATE CHANGE’S IMPACT ON CHILDHOOD
Cinthia Zermeño Moore, our Nevada field organizer, spoke with the podcast “Connecting the Dots” about the impact of climate change across the globe. Using examples from her own life, Cinthia shares what it is like to live in the Las Vegas Valley, where she is balancing career and caregiving to her son. Record water shortages and wildfire smoke force her family inside all too often, to the point that she worries for her son, whose allergies are made worse by dirty air: “My son is so young, I feel like he’s missing out a lot on his childhood, I mean he’s only three, but I feel like he’s missing out on a lot of things because during the summer months I don’t let him play outside because of the heat. And then the other issue is also our air quality in Las Vegas is just so bad.” The wildfire smoke that crosses state lines is wreaking havoc on the health of her Latino community: “I talk to my neighbors a lot. Because of the smoke and the bad air quality that we’ve had, they have mentioned that they’ve had sore throats, they’ve had watery eyes, they’re sneezing a lot more, they also have headaches. At first, they were afraid because they thought it was COVID. I started talking to them about the air quality and if they made that connection. But also the Latino community is one of the highest hit communities here when it comes to high asthma rates, and we have one of the highest rates of kids missing school because of their asthma attacks. And also because a lot of the folks in my community do not have insurance.”
REDEFINING “ENVIRONMENTALIST” AS A BLACK WOMAN
Heather McTeer Toney spoke with environmental reporter and writer, Emily Atkin, for her HEATED podcast about Heather’s essay in the new book All We Can Save, a collection of essays and poems from women leaders in the climate movement. In the interview, Heather explains why it’s time to redefine what an “environmentalist” is: “So in the piece that I wrote, ‘Collards Are Just as Good as Kale,’ I wanted to identify it [environmentalism] in a way that it had originally been identified to me. To me, environmentalism is being able to connect to the earth, air, and water in your own community, in your backyard—whether it’s rural or urban. It’s about connecting in a way that’s not only natural to you, but is in a way that’s caring for these elements as being a part of our existence, a part of our humanity, and it being our responsibility.”