By: Karin Stein, Iowa state coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: January 10, 2023
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0317
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Hello, my name is Karin Stein. I am the Iowa coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force, a national organization of over 1.4 million members fighting to protect our children from air pollution and climate change. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak at this hearing, and I support EPA’s updated rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from oil and gas operations across the country.
Instead of focusing on data and speaking as a person with scientific training and as a climate activist, I would like to speak from my heart.
All of us live multifaceted lives. Speaking for myself, I am a Latin American who has lived in Iowa for over 40 years; I have advanced degrees in plant sciences and horticulture; I have been a professional, touring musician for 25 years; I help lead environmental projects in Iowa, Costa Rica, and Colombia. First and foremost, I am a mother.
Wherever I am, whatever hat I am wearing at any given moment, there is always one primary thought on my mind: what will become of this planet? This relentless question terrifies me and it drives me. I live with an inner malaise, and I am willing to bet all of you do as well. I love this planet deeply, and most of all, I love the three amazing human beings I brought into it.
My three daughters are all bright professionals in their early thirties. And they have all but decided against bringing children into this world because of that same malaise: what will become of human life on this planet?
Increasingly frequent climate disasters have been a fact of life for my daughters. In their short years, they have known not just one, but several friends whose family farms and lives were broken by historic floods along the Missouri or Mississippi or their tributaries. They expect the next derecho storm to happen not once every 10 or 15 years, but now every three or four years.
My husband and I have developed respiratory problems in the last 15 years in our house, because the continuously increasing moisture levels in Iowa have made it very difficult to fight mold. We had no mold issues in the first 30 years in this same house.
When I was little, the scientific community was beginning to sound the alarm to the public about human-induced climate change. But I grew up not yet seeing all the extreme floods or droughts, the fires, the displaced people, or the pollution levels which my daughters see daily, either directly or in the news. Nowadays, I see not just increasingly severe storms in Iowa, but devastating droughts in my original homeland in eastern Colombia, and changed rain patterns that have led to significant shifts in plant and animal biodiversity in the rainforest region I help protect in Costa Rica.
My generation and the generation of my parents have failed my daughters and all the young people who are witnessing these ever-accelerating climate disasters and their tragic domino effects. This has to stop. It is imperative that the methane rules be updated. We must not allow this potent greenhouse gas to continue escaping into the atmosphere for lack of proper process, for lack of supervision, for lack of a willingness to pay a lot less now than what my daughters and generations beyond will have to pay in a variety of tragic ways.
I will likely not have biological grandchildren, but that doesn’t make me less of a grandmother to any current or future children born on Earth. What spews into the atmosphere from sources of oil and gas in the United States, has an impact not just here but around the rest of the globe. We can do something about that. Please update the rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from oil and gas operations.