By: Elizabeth Bechard, Senior Policy Analyst, 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 for the opportunity to testify. My name is Elizabeth Bechard, and I am a Senior Policy Analyst at Moms Clean Air Force and a graduate student in public health. I am from Durham, North Carolina, and I have two young children.
EPA’s proposal is a welcome step forward, but it doesn’t go far enough. The proposal must be strengthened, to better protect children, people with asthma, older adults, and other vulnerable groups from the health harms of air pollution. Parents across the country want to see a rapid transition to zero-emitting trucks, and we need cleaner air for our children and our communities.
I grew up in a family that really, really loved vehicles. My dad is from Michigan, and my grandfather worked for the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where he curated an extensive collection of car and truck radios. My mother says that when she met her future in-laws for the first time, there were parts of at least 20 different vehicles scattered around the front lawn of their house, and I don’t think she was kidding. The collection of vehicle parts at my grandfather’s home surely rivaled the collections at the Henry Ford Museum. To marry into my dad’s side of the family was to marry the vehicles, too.
But as I’ve grown up, I’ve learned that the cars and trucks my dad and grandfather loved are contributing directly to climate change. As a mom, I’m deeply worried about how climate change threatens our children’s future.
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% (the largest contributor is passenger vehicles). As the most recent IPCC reports tell us, we are at a critical crossroads with climate change, and must do everything within our power to reduce climate pollution as quickly and efficiently as possible to protect our children’s right to a livable future.
America’s love affair with cars and trucks is written into the love stories of my own family, but the only way for the love story to continue with a clear conscience is to make sure our vehicles aren’t harming our families. We need stronger standards to reduce deadline climate pollution from cars and trucks, and we need standards that put our national bus and truck fleet on a clear path to 100% zero-emission all-electric vehicles as quickly as possible.
Please strengthen the final standards, to better protect children, people with asthma, older adults, and other vulnerable groups from the health harms of air pollution. Everyone has the right to breathe clean air, and our children deserve to live on a healthy planet.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.