By: Oscar Hauptman, Michigan Kids Clean Air Force
Date: April 14, 2022
About: Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards Proposed Rule, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0055
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Hello. My name is Oscar, and I’m 11 years old. I live in Brighton, Michigan, with my family. Dirty diesel trucks spew carcinogenic pollution into the air. When that pollution heats up on hot days, it’s hard for me to breathe. I have asthma. Smog from trucks and buses often makes me have an asthma attack. My chest gets tight, I cough, and it feels like someone is sitting on my chest. It’s scary. Sometimes my inhaler helps; other times I need my nebulizer. I went to the emergency room twice because of a bad asthma attack. I love to play sports, but poor air quality makes it hard. I just started the soccer season again and most of our soccer fields are next to highways. That’s bad because the largest source of carbon pollution and smog comes from trucks, buses, and cars. My team and I are exposed to these dirty-diesel death zones. It makes me mad that we are near these freeways breathing dirty air while we are trying to be healthy and strong.
The dirty air is especially bad for kids. Kids breathe more rapidly, and our hearts and brains are still developing. We are breathing in the poisons from these trucks and buses that harm our bodies. Lots of kids in Michigan have asthma like me too, over 130,000, and we have over seven counties with an F air quality grade, according to the American Lung Association. I’d be grounded if I got that many poor grades! That’s why you need to protect our developing lungs. Michigan kids want our counties and cities air cleaned up and our air quality grades pulled up. EPA can help do this. The trucks rule could help kids across Michigan and the United States for many years to come, but it needs to be stronger. EPA must enact standards that put the American truck and bus fleets on a clear roadway to 100% zero-emission sales by 2035. There is no time to waste. Please protect my lungs, heart, and brain! Thank you.