By: Elizabeth Hauptman, Michigan field coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: February 8, 2022
About: MI Healthy Climate Plan
To: Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Council on Climate Solutions
Hello, I’m Elizabeth Hauptman. I live in Brighton, Michigan, and am the field coordinator with Moms Clean Air Force Michigan. We have 31,000 members here in Michigan and over a million nationally fighting for clean air and climate for the sake of our children’s health.
I’d like to start by thanking EGLE for taking our comments today.
Michiganders are experiencing climate change today with more flooding, coastal erosion, warming of the Great Lakes and extreme weather. Climate change is causing our lakes to warm faster than our oceans and impacting the fish populations. Michigan summers are getting longer and hotter, and our winters warmer. We see more rain and less snow, our lake only freezes for weeks, not months. We cannot skate, sled, or ice fish because it’s too warm. These changes effect commerce and recreation for all Michiganders.
In the summertime, these hotter temperatures can cause an increase in ground-level ozone pollution, or smog. Smog is a lung irritant that triggers asthma attacks. My son, Oscar, has asthma, so I understand how vital clean air is for life. He is one of 166,000 children in Michigan who suffer from asthma. Michigan has some of the worst asthma rates in the country, according to the American Lung Association. Parents like me need to check our weather apps to see if it’s safe for our children to play outside in the summer. We have far too often rushed home after a soccer game on a hot summer day to use his nebulizer because of dirty and dangerous air quality.
It’s not just my son. All 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.
I think that this MI Healthy Climate Plan is a good start, but it does not move quickly enough to address the worst effects of climate change. Moms and dads want climate action, and we want EGLE to make decisions based on public health, making clean energy investments that would limit potent greenhouse gas emissions from energy production and utility operations. We need the goal to be 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035, not by 2050, to help clean up our air, protect children’s heath, and stabilize our climate. Thank you.