By: Ana Rios, New Mexico State Coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: February 21, 2023
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0072
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Good day. My name is Ana Rios. I am the New Mexico field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force and its Latino engagement program, EcoMadres. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with my three children. I'm here on behalf of the nearly 20,000 members in my state to tell EPA that the proposed soot rule is a step forward but doesn't go far enough to protect our communities’ health. I am urging EPA to set standards for particle pollution that are no higher than 8 micrograms/cubic meter for the annual standard and no higher than 25 micrograms/cubic meter for the 24-hour standard. Stronger standards are key to protecting the health of our children and communities, and we must act now.
Stronger standards are necessary to protect the health of families like mine. We live in the San Jose neighborhood, a well-known Latino area, which is surrounded by industry. My house is located a few steps away from a heavy-duty trucks facility, near the railroad, and a couple of miles away from the intersection of two interstate freeways. Adding to that, last year, early in April here in New Mexico, we had 20 wildfires burning in 16 counties across the state. All the smoke traveled to different areas making the air quality worse and affecting communities that have long been overburdened by other sources of air pollution. According to the American Lung Association, 63 million people in the United States experience unhealthy spikes in daily soot pollution, and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to higher-than-average levels of this dangerous pollutant.
I am really concerned about how particle pollution can affect my children’s development. EPA must follow the science and establish standards that will better protect public health, especially vulnerable populations. Families and communities living in heavily polluted areas deserve a strengthened daily soot standard to help address the health harms of short-term pollution spikes. Spikes in daily soot pollution can result in acute health impacts during or soon after a day of poor air quality, such as asthma attacks and hospitalization for respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
We can’t afford to pass up the opportunity to set standards that protect our health, advance environmental justice, and reduce other dangerous pollution from these sources.
Once again, I am urging EPA to set a more health protective standard for particle pollution of 8 micrograms per cubic meter for the annual standard and 25 micrograms per cubic meter for the daily standard.