By: Michelle Uberuaga, Montana 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
Thank you so much for your time today. My name is Michelle Uberuaga. I am a mother of three and a member of Moms Clean Air Force. I live on unceded Indigenous land in Livingston, Montana. I am testifying today to urge EPA to set the strongest possible clean car standards this year.
My family is impacted from air pollution from cars and trucks. I am also concerned about the impacts of climate change that will continue to impact my children’s future. My youngest, Mario, turns three next week. Among the many things he needs every day, like all children, are clean air and a safe future.
Livingston is a small town in a rural county on the northern edge of Yellowstone National Park. You might imagine that we have pretty good air quality, but like every other place, we have highways, freeways, and plenty of local pollution from vehicles.
In fact, pollution from vehicles can create serious air quality concerns even in National Parks like Yellowstone. Cars often get lined up back-to-back, sometimes causing miles of traffic jams, or as we call them bison jams. The air pollution sits in the air, harming visitors' health and blocking views.
Even in our little town we experience pollution from vehicles regularly. Livingston, like many in towns in Montana, sits right off Interstate 90. My house sits less than 100 yards from Interstate 90. When we have high wind events, which happen often, the freeway is closed, and truck traffic is rerouted right through our downtown. Literally down main street. We can see back-to-back traffic, semis, cars, etc., driving very slowly right through town, past our schools, our downtown restaurants, and sidewalks. You can see the pollution in the air.
My kids are also impacted by pollution from vehicles at their schools. Like many places, parents idle their cars during pick up and drop off, which happens on the playground. It’s alarming to see our playground flanked on all sides by idling cars and air pollution. And I know that many of my kids’ classmates suffer from asthma, Reid, Oliver, Griffin, and Bridger, to name a few. We can and we must do better for our kids and for our communities.
An estimated 6 million children under 18 suffer from asthma. One of the best ways to protect these kids is to start making more cleaner cars. Cars that don’t pollute. And we know how to do that! Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe pollution and protect our health and families’ budgets.
I respectfully request that EPA set the strongest possible Clean Car Standards to protect the thousands of vulnerable children, like mine, that are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution from cars every day.
This is a simple step, and we can and must continue to do more to protect vulnerable communities from air pollution and climate change. I want my kids to know that we did everything we could to protect their future.
Thank you again for your time and your consideration.