By: Celerah Hewes, Project Manager for State Campaigns, 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
Thank you so much for the opportunity to testify on this important issue. My name is Celerah Hewes, and I am a project manager for Moms Clean Air Force and a mother living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am here today to support the EPA’s proposal to strengthen pollution standards for heavy-duty vehicles. However, the proposed standards do not go far enough to protect our families from pollution caused by these vehicles. Parents across the country want to see a rapid transition to zero-emission trucks that reduce pollution and provide clean air for our children to breathe.
Albuquerque has consistently received an F rating for ozone pollution, or smog, from the American Lung Association's “State of the Air” Report. Heavy-duty vehicles are major contributors to the creation of this pollution, and when NOx combines with heat and sunlight in the atmosphere, both of which are plentiful in the Southwest, they form smog, which is a lung irritant and asthma trigger.
In our neighborhood, we are no stranger to heavy-duty vehicles. We are only a few blocks from one of the main bus routes in Albuquerque, as well as being within a couple miles of the interstate, the Albuquerque Airport, and Kirkland Air Force Base. All of this means increased traffic from heavy-duty vehicles, such as city buses, semi-trucks, and delivery vehicles. We also see numerous school buses driving down our street during the week, as we are only a few blocks from a public school.
My nine-year-old daughter often comments on the pollution we see from these vehicles as we walk around our neighborhood and is concerned about the impacts it has on her and other children, as well as her grandparents, who are more likely to have health impacts from pollution.
In addition to smog, we are also concerned about the greater climate impacts these vehicles have. Heavy-duty vehicles are a major contributor to the carbon pollution that is causing climate change, and in the Southwest, we are seeing that firsthand with increased drought, wildfires, and intense heat. Last summer, we had many days where the heat was so high and the pollution so intense that my daughter’s summer camp could not play outdoors. There is no time to waste. The trucks covered by this rule will be on the road for decades, so these vehicles must be cleaned up as soon as possible.
Again, I ask that the proposed heavy-duty NOx and greenhouse gas standards be strengthened and finalized this year to protect the health of communities. EPA must enact standards that put the American truck and bus fleet on the road to 100% zero-emission sales by 2035.
Thank you for your time today.