By: Elizabeth Hauptman, Michigan State Coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: May 9, 2023
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0829
To: Environmental Protection Agency
I’m Elizabeth Hauptman. I live in Livingston County with my family and I’m the field manager with Moms Clean Air Force Michigan. We have over 34,000 members here in Michigan and over a million and a half nationally fighting for clean air and climate action for the sake of our children’s health and future. Thank you for taking my family’s testimonies today. (We are all scheduled to speak at the same time.) As a mom to a son who struggles with asthma, the significance of this proposed rule is not lost on me.
Strengthening EPA’s proposed multipollutant emissions standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles is an important step forward in protecting our families from dangerous tailpipe pollution, which is a significant contributor to climate change and other harmful health impacts. Parents in Michigan want to see a rapid transition to zero-emission vehicles. Moms Clean Air Force is calling on EPA to finalize the strongest possible tailpipe standards this year, protecting our children and communities from avoidable harm.
Pollution harms all of us, but disproportionately impacts children. Climate change and air pollution impact our children’s developing brains, bodies, and lungs. Kids are smaller, they breathe more rapidly, and their bodies are brains are still growing.
Michigan has some of the worst rates of asthma in the country, according to the American Lung Association. My son and niece have asthma. We often check weather reports to see if it’s safe to go outside. We have 12 counties with failing air quality grades. Genesee, Ingham, Monroe, Saginaw, and Wayne Counties as well as the city of Detroit have asthma hospitalization rates significantly higher than the state as a whole, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
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.
Children who live nearc highways find that their illnesses are exacerbated due to pollution. Many neighborhoods and schools are adjacent to large industrial facilities with large trucks driving to and from these sites. About 69,000 Detroit residents live within 150 meters of a major freeway, and 58 Detroit public schools with an estimated 24,490 students are within 200 meters of a major roadway.
In addition, for our families, climate-driven extreme weather like intense heat days, flooding in the spring, and droughts are taking a toll on our mental health. Children are feeling more anxious about climate change, especially after a major climate event. The EPA can calm those fears when they choose the strongest tailpipe protections. The vehicles covered by this rule will be on the road for decades to come. Parents around the country want to see a rapid transition to zero-emission vehicles, and Moms Clean Air Force is calling on EPA to finalize the strongest possible clean cars standards this year. We don’t have time to waste. Please hear the urgency in my voice: for the sake of my son and the children of Michigan, we need you to ACT now because their futures are at stake.