By: Molly Rauch, Public Health Policy Director, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: June 2, 2021
About: Environmental Protection Agency Reconsideration of SAFE 1 Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0257
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. My name is Molly Rauch, and I am the public health policy director for Moms Clean Air Force. I live in Washington DC with my three children. I am speaking on behalf of more than one million moms, dads, grandmas, and aunties who are members of Moms Clean Air Force and fighting to protect our children from air pollution and climate change. We strongly support EPA’s proposal to restore state authority to protect families from pollution, and we urge you to move swiftly toward setting strong federal clean car standards.
In April, DC once again received an F for ground-level ozone pollution from the American Lung Association, in their annual State of the Air report. As someone who has been prescribed an asthma inhaler for my own breathing problems, I know firsthand that high ozone days can make it hard to breathe. This is especially true for the 12% of DC children—15,000—who have asthma. Ozone is not only an asthma trigger, but it also interferes with normal lung development and makes lungs more vulnerable to infection.
Heat makes ozone pollution worse. As the weather warms up this season, I can see this relationship between ozone and heat in the air quality warnings that I regularly check. Last month, we already had three code orange air days in DC due to high ozone levels. A new study published this week in Nature Climate Change estimated that more than one-third of heat deaths worldwide are due to climate change already. Much more warming is predicted if we do not dramatically reduce climate pollution. Catastrophic results will follow. Scientists have predicted that in 2080, DC will feel like Dallas. There will be more smog as a result of this heat, more heat-related illness and death, more pollution-related asthma attacks, declines in educational achievement, increases in violence, more premature births, and so on.
The transportation sector is the nation’s leading source of climate-warming carbon pollution. If we want to protect our children from ozone pollution and from climate change, we simply must cut pollution from cars, trucks, and buses as quickly as possible.
Restoring state authority to limit pollution from dirty vehicles would help address inequitable transportation-related health impacts. States must be permitted to rein in pollution from dirty vehicles and set stronger standards in order to protect their most vulnerable.
Today is the first climate-related public hearing at the EPA since President Biden took office, and I am encouraged to hear the widespread support for EPA’s SAFE1 proposal from every part of the country. This shows that there's a tidal wave of public support for addressing the climate crisis that is threatening our children's health and future, and that we're going to step up and speak out for climate action, every chance we get.
I urge you to finalize restoration of state authority and then, please, move swiftly toward setting strong federal clean car rules to ensure we can achieve our climate goals.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.