The Senate recently voted 52-42 to reinstate methane standards in this Congress’s first climate vote. Now, the resolution moves to the House for consideration. As Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other members of Congress–Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Angus King (I-ME)–briefed the Washington press corps on this vote, they were joined by our own Public Health Policy Director, Molly Rauch, and other members of the Moms team. In her remarks on behalf of our more than 1 million members, Molly voiced strong support for an end to methane pollution, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, noting, “In my work with Moms, I bear witness to the real-life human health impacts of pollution from the oil and gas industry in communities across the country….Parents can’t control the air our children breathe; we depend on our leaders in Congress to do their jobs and protect our children.” To make your voice heard on this important climate vote, sign our petition here.
MOMS AND THE METHANE VOTE
In its coverage of the Senate vote to reinstate methane protections, the National Journal interviewed Molly Rauch. She told them: “This [vote] is bigger than climate and has immediate benefits right now for families. Climate is a public health crisis. So anything that addresses climate change, reduces climate pollution, deals with climate impacts to me that is a public-health issue. So I see these all as inseparable, actually.” The National Journal goes on to underscore our influence in Washington: “In recent years, Rauch’s organization has been instrumental in moving a wide array of public health and climate policies and regulation. The Moms Clean Air Force is also pushing school bus and other transportation-electrification policies in an infrastructure package.”
The Carlsbad Current Argus in New Mexico reported on Senator Martin Heinrich’s (D-NM) sponsorship of the methane resolution and echoed Molly Rauch’s passionate remarks at the press conference: “Molly…said the methane standards must be reinstated to ensure public health is protected now and in the future: ‘The methane CRA resolution is vital to protecting our environment. This vote is a vote on our children’s health and their future. Climate change is a health crisis, not in some distant future but right now. We need methane standards back in place right now to reduce climate pollution. We need environmental justice. We need climate justice. Every child has the right to breathe clean air and to a stable climate.’ ”
Michigan News Connection spoke with our Michigan field organizer Elizabeth Haupman about the significance of cutting methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to the climate crisis and pollutes the air: “‘My son Oscar has asthma, so I understand how vital these protections are for his life and kids like him.’ Hauptman said the climate already is warming in Michigan, so there’s no time to lose. ‘We need these methane standards back in place now to reduce the dangerous climate pollution. Moms and dads want climate action. We want our leaders to stand up for our children’s health.’”
Following the Senate’s vote on methane, Public News Service spoke to our Houston-based organizer Erandi Trevino about cutting methane leaks in the oil and gas industry: “It’s not like other issues that we have in terms of the environment, where we have to come up with a new technology. ‘No, these companies already know how to stop the leaks.”
In a letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on reinstating the methane pollution safeguards, Moms Clean Air Force member Andreas Maihoefer thanks Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) for co-sponsoring the resolution to reinstate methane pollution safeguards: “Because I live within 1 mile of active oil and gas wells, I am encouraged by Mr. Lamb’s effort to reinstate methane pollution protections that were unraveled by the previous administration….My family depends on leaders like Mr. Lamb to take swift action to cut toxic leakage of methane from oil and gas operations and protect us from harmful air pollution. Congress and the Biden administration should follow Mr. Lamb’s lead by supporting his resolution to reinstate methane pollution standards and build on it with more meaningful action to protect the health and future of Pennsylvania’s families from air pollution and the climate crisis.”
TRANSPORTATION IN THE HOT SEAT
Our EcoMadres national lead, Cinthia Moore, spoke to the Washington Post about the rampant rates of environmental injustice in communities of color across the country. As a resident of east Las Vegas where construction seems constant along the major roadways and a freeway, Cinthia says: “There’s just heavy vehicles 24-7.” And since moving from a wealthy suburb to her predominantly Latino community, Cinthia says the disparity in air quality could not be clearer, as her son cannot go outdoors without having a bad reaction: “[B]oth have suffered respiratory issues. While air purifiers work well enough indoors, Moore said, ‘as soon as he’s outside, he breaks out into rashes and has trouble breathing.’ ‘In Nevada, Moore has been pushing for passage of a law to close a loophole allowing cars with a classic-vehicle license plate to skip the state’s smog test. It would raise fees to help low-income drivers repair their cars or buy more efficient ones. ‘They say they want to address this,’ Moore said of legislators. ‘But in Nevada, any time there’s an increase of fees for businesses or individuals, it’s a problem.’”
Speaking to Pacifica radio station WPFW’s “Community Watch & Comment” program, our Washington, D.C. field organizer Stephanie Klein, touted the virtues of city buses going electric. Stephanie is part of a coalition pushing for the city’s transit authority (Metro) to transition 50% of its buses to electric by 2030, and the entire fleet by 2045. Stephanie pointed out that many local children, including her own, rely on buses for transport to and from school: “[C]hildren are more susceptible because their bodies and their lungs are still developing. If you think about young children, they breathe much more rapidly than adults, and so they’re just being disproportionately impacted by that air pollution.” [Segment ran on April 27th and starts around 29:oo]
YahooNews reported that Sen. Murray (D-WA) met virtually with various stakeholders, including representatives from Moms Clean Air Force, as part of a roundtable discussion on the need to electrify our school buses.
In its coverage of the Clean Transit for America Plan introduced in Congress, EcoWatch reported on the push to have the federal government support transit agencies in shifting their bus fleets to zero emissions in ways that prioritize issues of equity. Moms Clean Air Force was cited as one of several groups backing the plan.
Transportation Today also covered the Clean Transit for America Plan in its reporting on the effort to replace 70,000 polluting buses with clean buses, citing Moms Clean Air Force as a lead supporter.
WHAT MAKES A ‘GOOD NEIGHBOR’ STATE?
The Detroit Free Press reported on the revised Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to reduce power plant emissions that contribute to air pollution in other states. Under the Rule and starting this summer, Michigan and 11 other states will be required to reduce nitrogen oxide pollution (or NOx) from motor vehicle exhaust and industrial smokestacks because of their contribution to smog in downwind states to the east. According to D.C.-based field manager Elizabeth Brandt: “In the summer, a fair amount of the smog in the D.C.-Baltimore area is arising from air pollution coming in from other states. It’s really a huge issue for people with asthma and other chronic illnesses. They really can’t go out on these really smoggy days of the summer. And there’s not a lot the local jurisdiction can do.”
ENDING THE CYCLE OF ‘PROBLEM, REPEAT, APOLOGY’
Our Denver-based field organizer Shaina Oliver spoke at a pivotal public hearing on the area’s Suncor oil refinery as it bids for a new permit. As the Colorado Sun reported, advocates like her are fighting hard to ‘end the cycle of problem, apology, repeat.’ Shaina gave testimony calling for greater pollution controls, or else to deny the permit: “Every child in Colorado deserves to live, learn and play in a healthy and safe community. They are demanding justice in every breath.” The Suncor refinery is a major polluter embroiled in a scandal connected to a whistleblower’s complaint that a state agency allowed the refinery to illegally ignore its violations of air pollution standards.
TALKING CREATIVELY ABOUT CLIMATE
Our Senior Advisor Heather McTeer Toney sat down for an interview published in the Clarion Ledger that explored topics ranging from her views on climate messaging and maintaining optimism to addressing the lack of diversity in the environmental movement and overcoming climate deniers. For the latter, Heather notes: “It’s all in how we talk about it. I may not always say ‘climate change.’ I may talk about conservation. Or I may talk about water and agriculture. I think that Southerners get it. We are intricately tied to the environment.”
- The Charleston-Gazette profiled our West Virginia member Keena Mullins on her solar power entrepreneurship. Mullins is a fourth-generation coal miner’s daughter whose recent op-ed calling on state leaders to embrace clean energy was plugged in the same piece.
- Our Montana state chapter got a shout-out in the Missoula Current for co-hosting an event featuring atmospheric scientist and climate communicator Katharine Hayhoe.
- Human Rights Watch praised Moms Clean Air Force for advocating forcefully on the impact that climate change has on maternal health.