By: Julie Kimmel, Project Manager, 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 Julie Kimmel. I’m a project manager for Moms Clean Air Force and a parent of a sensitive and energetic six-year-old daughter. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
I live with my daughter and husband in Reston, Virginia, and I grew up here in Northern Virginia. For as long as I can remember, we’ve had issues with traffic congestion, and cars and trucks are certainly our largest source of air pollution.
In fact, the transportation sector is responsible for 48% of carbon pollution in Virginia. We clearly cannot address the climate crisis without moving decisively to zero-pollution vehicles.
In the last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed some important legislation for reducing tailpipe pollution in the commonwealth—establishing an advanced clean cars program, an electric vehicle rebate program, and a grant fund for electric school buses and heavy-duty vehicles. But Virginia can’t do this work to cut climate pollution alone, and neither can any other state.
I support this administration’s proposal to strengthen federal greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks. This proposal is a step in the right direction for the health of our children and our climate.
Climate change is already affecting my community in Reston. Over the last decade, we’ve had several severe wind storms—a phenomenon I don’t recall from my childhood here. We’ve also seen multiple so-called 100-year rain storms. And the annual number of days when temperatures soar past 90 degrees is growing.
I mentioned that my daughter is six. She just started first grade. The absolute biggest joy of her life is meeting her friends after school outside at our neighborhood playground. They play make believe and build shelters for bugs. They jump rope and throw frisbees. Playing outdoors is so important for children—they learn how to be cooperative, compassionate humans on the playground.
But when temperatures climb past 95 degrees, I have to ask my daughter to stay inside. She plays hard, overheats easily, and I do not want to risk a trip to the emergency room for heat-related illness.
And it’s not just me and my kid and my neighbors. Families across the country are losing so much valuable play and school time to extreme storms, extreme heat, and wildfires—thanks to climate change. And this on top of the education crisis we’re facing because of COVID.
As a parent worried about the impacts of climate change on our children’s education, health, and future, I want EPA to finalize the strongest possible national greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks.
To stall the climate catastrophe threatening our kids, we must get ourselves on the path to 100% zero-emissions new vehicle sales by 2035, and that means the near-term standards for climate pollution that we’re talking about today not only should be as strong as possible, but also should avoid loopholes and put automakers on track to hit that 100% zero-emissions by 2035 target.
Thank you again for the opportunity to testify.