I’m writing to you from the coast of Rhode Island. On Sunday morning, the day after the presidential race was declared, I was drinking coffee in my kitchen, still trying to absorb the events of the week. Suddenly a huge boom shattered the quiet, followed by another boom. The floor began to shake. A lot. Was it a gas tank explosion? A plane crash? A bomb? Had I missed some news—had war been declared?
When I learned later that we had experienced a highly unusual earthquake, I actually felt relieved. That’s when I realized exactly how on edge, how anxious, I have been about our world for the last four years. We members of Moms Clean Air Force have been at war. Four grinding, grim, grueling years of battles as Moms confronted a repeated assault on the Clean Air Act—the very law designed to keep us safe from air and water pollution. Four years of battling a radical deregulatory agenda that, among other important problems, brought the EPA to a standstill.
Now, the USA has elected a president who understands the danger of global warming and is determined to put America into a leading role to combat climate pollution.
We have elected a president who values health protections, developed over decades, as scientists and doctors have learned more about the damage that air toxics can wreak on us.
We have elected a president who understands the injustice of dumping pollution into poor areas of the country—sacrifice zones—and has vowed that this practice will stop.
Most of all, we have elected a president who understands that we can and must and will have a strong economy, along with a stable climate and clean air to protect our health. In fact, sickness—whether Covid or asthma or heart disease—undermines our ability to work and function.
A strong economy and strong safeguards against pollution go hand in hand—and have for many decades.
Much can be done under existing law.
We want a clear, assertive DAY ONE Commitment to Climate and Clean Air Leadership.
We want the president to appoint an EPA Administrator who can act swiftly, decisively, and urgently to halt or reverse the dangerous EPA rollbacks we have been fighting—and to do so with the kind of rigor necessary for rules to stand up to a predictable onslaught of lawsuits. We can restore health-protective standards that protect us from methane leaks, tailpipe emissions, and coal plant emissions.
We want the president to put into place a mechanism by which every government agency takes into account the impact of global warming, from the Energy Department to the Department of the Interior. For the first time in history, even the Federal Reserve Board cites the impact of climate change on the economy.
We hope to see engagement on climate integrated seamlessly across our government. For instance:
- The Treasury—as bipartisan reports are already warning us that climate impacts will cause profound damage to our economy.
- The Defense Department—as bipartisan reports warn us that global warming destabilizes populations; aggravates food crises and refugee crises; and damages the very bases from which our military operates.
- The Department of Agriculture—as farmers struggle with prolonged droughts and loss of arable land.
There will be an opportunity for bold and ambitious pragmatism as well as we build our future. I am excited about what I’m calling a SuperChargeUS mobilization, on the same scale with which we built out our interstate highway system in the 1950s—led by a diverse coalition of interests. A new infrastructure system will support the electrification of our cars, buses, and trucks and stretch from coast to coast. Anyone should be able to pull into a charging station at any hour of the day or night—and feel safe and secure driving the new kinds of vehicles I am so intrigued to see.
New bills might also include investment into the research and development of better batteries or scalable carbon capture technologies.
There is much work to do. But most of all, now is the time to know that we are fighting for a government that protects us, rather than fighting a government bent on refusing to protect us.