By: Elizabeth Hauptman, Michigan Field Organizer, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: June 2, 2021
About: Environmental Protection Agency Reconsideration of SAFE 1 Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0257
To: Environmental Protection Agency
My name is Elizabeth Hauptman. I’m the Michigan field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force. We are an organization of over a million and a half moms and dads fighting for clean air and a more stable planet for the sake of our children. On behalf of Moms Clean Air Force’s nearly 30,000 members throughout Michigan, I’m asking the EPA to reverse the previous administration’s attack on the Clean Air Act and restore states’ authority to adopt stronger vehicle pollution standards than those set by the federal government.
Pollution harms all of us, but disproportionately impacts children. My son has asthma, and his disease is made worse by air pollution. Because of him and the over 166,000 children in Michigan who suffer from asthma, we need tougher air quality standards to protect our children from the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution—tailpipe pollution. Michigan has some of the worst rates of asthma in the country, according to the American Lung Association. Children are more impacted by air pollution for many reasons. They breathe more rapidly than adults, spend more time outdoors, and are more physically active than adults, thus exposing their still-developing lungs to more air pollution. Kids are also smaller, living closer to the ground than the rest of us, standing just about tailpipe high, where concentrations of pollution from cars, trucks, and buses is coming directly at them.
Pollution can lead to increased asthma rates in kids, and poor air quality can exacerbate asthma, causing more asthma attacks, resulting in millions of missed school days for kids across the country and, often, missed work days for adults. In the summertime, we need to watch our weather app to see if its safe for our son to play outdoors. We have far too often have had to rush home after a soccer game on hot summer days to use his nebulizer.
Furthermore, childhood asthma rates are significantly higher for children of color. Latino children are twice as likely to die from asthma, and Black children are 10 times more likely to die from asthma than white, non-Hispanic kids. These statistics make it abundantly clear that strong clean car standards and a shift to zero emissions vehicles is an environmental and social justice issue—our children deserve justice in every breath.
Air pollution from the transportation sector not only harms the health of our children; it also contributes to the climate crisis. Currently, strong clean car standards are the best tool we have in our toolbox to fight climate change. This urgent crisis is not something that we will see the impacts of some day in the distant future. We are seeing climate impacts right now, with extreme weather events like floods, storms, and heat waves. Addressing the pollution from the transportation sector to fight climate change CANNOT WAIT. Michigandars need strong clean car standards, the ability to set higher standards to reduce air pollution and protect our health, especially for communities of color which bear the brunt of health impacts from vehicle pollution. Thank you.