By: Mercedes McKinley, Nevada 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
My name is Mercedes McKinley. I am a Nevada state coordinator of Moms Clean Air Force and its Latino engagement program, EcoMadres. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am the mother of a two-year-old baby girl and the main caregiver for my 78-year-old mother. I am here to testify and show my support for stronger transportation standards for all light- and medium-duty vehicles made in 2027 and beyond.
I arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1987 when I was seven years old from El Salvador. For as long as I can remember, my family and I have lived close to major roads and/or highways in this city. Las Vegas is unique because over the last couple of decades our population has quadrupled. As the city exploded in size, so did the population, and more people means: more cars. Our lungs have been having to work harder and harder to receive the necessary oxygen and the roadways fill with more cars every year. It’s a 24-hour town without a strong public transportation system, our citizens depend on cars. In addition to citizens driving, we have a large fleet of taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers. A stricter standard on multipollutant emissions from these vehicles is an important step forward in protecting our families.
In addition to being a major contributor of CO2, which affects climate change, the transportation sector adds nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the atmosphere. When NOx and sunlight combine with high temperatures, it creates ground-level ozone. This ozone is harmful to human health. It has been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular issues, and even premature death for high risk groups. The American Lung Association recently released its “State of the Air'' report. It found the top 25 most polluted cities ranked by ozone and particle pollution; Las Vegas-Henderson ranked 15 on that list. Clark County, home of the Las Vegas strip, is an area that sees 40 million visitors on average annually. It received an F as a grade from this report; last year the county experienced close to 50 high ozone days. It also received an F for particle pollution, and we have over 2.2 million residents who are currently breathing in this air. Tailpipe pollution from vehicles has numerous impacts on the health and well-being of our community. As a mom, I urge you to finalize the strongest possible clean car standards by the end of this year, so that my daughter and other children in this country may have a chance to breathe cleaner air than what they are breathing in today. Thank you for your time.