By: Chelsea Lyons, North Carolina 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
Hello, my name is Chelsea Lyons. I am a resident of Trinity, North Carolina, serve as the North Carolina State Coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force, and am a mom of my one-year-old son, Leighton. I am here today to urge you and your colleagues to finalize a stronger particle pollution rule. Because of particle pollution's ability to cause long-term bodily damage, we need to act immediately.
North Carolina currently has 27 fossil fuel/natural gas-burning power plants, one of which is in my neighboring community. Belews Creek Steam Station (the picture located behind me) has been open since 1974, releasing particle pollution in Belews Creek, North Carolina, for nearly 50 years. As a young woman with an already high risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease due to genetics and other underlying health conditions, I should not have to endure another increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease just by simply breathing air. Mortality estimates vary widely, but recent research suggests soot, known as particle pollution, contributes to over 100,000 US deaths each year. With soot exposure contributing to a host of chronic diseases from diabetes to heart disease, Americans are at risk of becoming part of this awful statistic without even realizing it. I want to be able to live a long and healthy life to watch my kids grow and to continue advocating for my community.
Stronger particle pollution standards would protect people like me and communities like mine. By further strengthening the annual standard, EPA could save up to 16,000 lives a year and prevent 46,000 emergency department visits for pediatric asthma each year. Stronger standards would mean that more people get to live long, healthy lives and watch their children grow without fear of breathing bad air.
Thank you for your time and your efforts on this proposal, but I believe we could go further. I urge you and your colleagues to finalize a stronger particle pollution rule by reducing the annual standard to 8 micrograms per cubic meter and the 24-hour standard to 25 micrograms per cubic meter.