By: Lily Zwaan, Georgia State Coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: June 28, 2022
About: Waiver Requests for California's Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT), Zero Emission Airport Shuttle, and Zero-Emission Power Train Certification Regulations; Omnibus Low NOx Regulation; and HD Emission Warranty Regulation, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0331
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Thank you for the opportunity to comment today. My name is Lily Zwaan, and I am a field coordinator at Moms Clean Air Force. I am here asking you to approve California’s waiver request, and to allow the strongest possible limits on heavy duty vehicle pollution, because we need a rapid transition to zero emissions vehicles.
I live in Atlanta Georgia, in Fulton County, which currently holds an F air quality grade from the American Lung Association. The children in our communities are breathing dirty air—a 2014 study found that more than half of the public schools in Fulton county sit within a half mile of a major highway. Young lungs are more vulnerable to air pollutants, and it is up to us to protect them from harmful emissions from heavy duty trucks.
In Atlanta it’s also no surprise that traffic pollution further exacerbates climate inequity, with communities of color and especially African American communities being disproportionately exposed to air pollutants in our city. A delay in implementing clean trucks and electric truck standards would prolong the suffering experienced by communities living daily with the impacts of environmental racism, red lining, and generations of marginalization that make them vulnerable to pollution from trucks.
And all this is to say nothing of truck pollution’s contributions to climate change, in a summer when Georgia is experiencing dangerous extreme heat. Atlanta is a massive hub for the southeast, with some of the most congested roads in the globe, according to Inrix studies. That means tractor trailers spend hours in Atlanta traffic, polluting the air we breathe and contributing to dangerous levels of smog. This dirty air becomes only more harmful as our city experiences more extreme heat events, themselves fueled by carbon pollution from cars and trucks.
I’m pleased the EPA is moving on clean vehicles, but we can’t afford any delay in granting these waivers. Lives are on the line, and our communities deserve clean air now. We need the strongest possible limits on heavy duty vehicle pollution and a rapid transition to 100% zero-emission electric vehicles. This is not only for the mitigation of climate change, but also for the immediate health impacts of this pollution. In Georgia, we know these effects all too well. Please grant these waivers right away, to better protect children, people with asthma, older adults, and those already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis from the health harms of air pollution. Everyone has the right to breathe clean air. Thank you again for the opportunity to speak.