By: Almeta E. Cooper, National Field Manager, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: April 20, 2022
About: Federal Implementation Plan Addressing Regional Ozone Transport for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0668
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Good morning. My name is Almeta Cooper. I am a field manager with Moms Clean Air Force, which consists of about 1.4 million parents, caregivers, and supporters nationally who fight to protect clean air and children’s health.
I live in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, in Fulton County, where I have lived for seven years. Fulton County has been routinely flagged with a failing grade by the American Lung Association in its annual State of the Air Report, and in a city known for snarling stop-and-go traffic that contributes to smog and poor air quality, I understand the importance of clean air.
As a mother and member of Moms Clean Air Force, I support the EPA’s proposed Good Neighbor Plan to cut smog across many parts of the United States. As proposed, the rule takes steps to reduce ozone-forming NOx emissions. This action will stop 26 states from “significantly contributing” to problems achieving and maintaining the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in downwind states through a combination of requirements for power plants and other industrial sources.
The specific reason that I am here today is that pollution adversely impacts health. NOx can cause health harm, including airway inflammation, cough and wheezing, and a greater likelihood of asthma attacks, emergency department visits, and hospital admission for people with lung disease. NOx is also highly reactive, and it can form into ground-level ozone pollution.
As a mom and member of my community, I care deeply about environmental justice, especially the connection between climate change and health equity for our most vulnerable populations.
The impact of air pollution threatens public health, preying especially on older adults, pregnant women, and low-income communities in Georgia and elsewhere. African Americans contribute 23% less to the adverse impact of climate change but bear 21% more of the harms when compared to other racial groups.
In closing, NOx contributes to ozone problems downwind; it also creates localized pollution that impacts health in fenceline communities. It is essential to meeting EPA’s commitments on environmental justice to implement these health-based standards and that EPA enforces them. Although I appreciate that EPA is not only requiring emissions reductions from power plants in upwind states, but also from other industrial sources—I urge EPA to expand the covered sources further to better protect public health.
Thank you to EPA and its staff for inviting public comment and permitting digital and remote testimony to allow for increased participation in these public hearings.