By: Elizabeth Hauptman, Michigan Field Organizer, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: August 25, 2021
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0208
To: Environmental Protection Agency
My name is Elizabeth Hauptman, and I live in Brighton, Michigan. Air pollution from the transportation sector not only harms the health of our children; it also contributes to the climate crisis.
On behalf of Moms Clean Air Force’s nearly 30,000 members throughout Michigan, I’m asking the EPA to implement the strongest vehicle pollution standards possible.
Pollution harms all of us, but disproportionately impacts children. Kids are 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. Children’s still developing heart and lungs are being exposed to dirty exhaust from vehicles that spew carcinogenic poisons in the air. This tailpipe pollution causes poor air quality that can exacerbate asthma, causing more asthma attacks, resulting in millions of missed school days, games, and outdoor family events for kids across the country.
My son has asthma, and his disease is made worse by air pollution. In the summertime, we need to watch our weather app to see if its safe for our son to play outdoors. On hot days, when the air quality is terrible, I know that he’s going to have a tough day. As a mother who has seen the fear in her son’s face as his chest tightens and he gasps to breathe, we must do more to protect him and children who suffer from this chronic illness. Parents like me, far too often have to rush home after a soccer game or swimming on hot summer days to use our children’s nebulizers.
Michigan has some of the worst rates of asthma in the country, according to the American Lung Association. 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.
Because of my son 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.
In addition, we need these strong EPA standards to address the urgent climate crisis NOW! This climate 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 excessive rainfall, floods, storms, and heat waves. Currently, strong clean car standards are the best tool we have in our toolbox to fight climate change. Addressing the pollution from the transportation sector to fight climate change CANNOT WAIT. Michigandars and our kids deserve the STRONGEST clean car standards EPA has proposed. Thank you.