By: Brooke Petry, Pennsylvania field coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: April 12, 2022
About: Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards Proposed Rule, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0055
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Good Morning. My name is Brooke Petry. I’m a field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force, and I live with my family in South Philadelphia.
I’m speaking today on behalf of myself, my family, and our nearly 100,000 members across Pennsylvania in support of EPA’s proposal to strengthen pollution standards for heavy-duty vehicles.
While EPA’s proposal is a welcome step forward, it doesn’t go far enough. The proposal must be strengthened, to better protect children, people who live with asthma—like myself and my child—older adults, and other vulnerable groups from the health harms of air pollution. In order to mitigate the dangerous health impacts of the climate crisis, and of air pollution, we need a rapid transition to zero-emitting trucks. The children in our communities need clean air to breathe. The largest source of climate pollution in the US is the transportation sector, responsible for 29% of all climate pollution. Within the transportation sector, heavy-duty vehicles are the second-largest contributor, at 23%.
Emissions from the transportation sector accelerate climate change and also affect our health. For those who have asthma, like my daughter and me, tailpipe pollution can trigger asthma attacks—a daily challenge we live with since we walk everywhere. Here in Philadelphia, the childhood asthma rate is more than double the national average, and we have the unfortunate distinction of being one of the top 10 asthma capitals in the United States.
Children, even at rest, have an increased breathing rate. This makes them even more vulnerable to the harms of emissions, because they take in more pollutants per pound of body weight than an average adult. Over a quarter of children ages 5–13 in Philadelphia have asthma. We know that increased exposure to these pollutants can cause and exacerbate childhood asthma, stunt lung growth, and cause cardiovascular problems. Breathing difficulties in our children mean more doctor visits, and more missed days of school, and can have lifelong health implications.
Zero-emission electric trucks are the best available technology to both reduce harmful NOx and climate pollution. EPA can and should use these proposed truck standards to accelerate the transition to electric trucks–to put the country’s medium- and heavy-duty fleets on a pathway to 100% zero-emission electric vehicles as quickly as possible. These standards present an important opportunity to address the climate crisis, to improve public health, and to protect our children and the planet they will inherit. Therefore, they must go farther in reducing deadly NOx pollution, and they must put our national bus and truck fleet on a clear path to 100% zero-emission all-electric vehicles as quickly as possible.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify today.