By: Patrice Tomcik, Senior National Field Manager, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: April 12, 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
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
My name is Patrice Tomcik, and I am a Senior National Field Manager for Moms Clean Air Force, an organization of over 1 million moms and dads united to protect our children’s health from air pollution and climate change. I live in the town of Gibsonia, located in southwestern Pennsylvania, with my husband and two children, where vehicle pollution degrades our air quality and contributes to climate change.
I support the proposed EPA heavy-duty NOx and greenhouse gas emissions, but it must be strengthened to better protect children from the health harms of air pollution.
Air pollution from trucks is a major public health problem. My children’s school is located approximately 175 feet from the heavy trafficked State Route 228. Studies have shown that the highest daytime exposures of traffic pollution are within 500 feet of a busy road. On an average day, at least 10,000 vehicles and 500 trucks and buses travel this heavily congested roadway. Closing school windows and doors can help to lessen the traffic pollutant exposures, but the reality is that NOx, fine particles, and vapors are able to readily penetrate the indoors, where they can be breathed in by young lungs.
In the evening, my kids attend outdoor two-hour sports practices and games at the school sports complex located near the roadway. This is the environment my children have been exposed to since kindergarten and now through their high school years.
Unfortunately, my story is not unique since many schools across the nation are built near busy roadways because the land is cheap.
I know that children are especially impacted by pollution since their lungs and brains are still developing until early adulthood. Toxic air pollution exposures can have deleterious effects that can last a lifetime.
I am very worried about what my children are breathing into their lungs every day. My youngest son is a cancer survivor and is immune compromised. As a mother, I try to make his home environment as healthy as possible, but I know that I can’t control the air my son breathes and depend on Administrator Regan and EPA to do your jobs and protect him from harmful truck pollution.
The proposed standards must go further in reducing deadly NOx pollution, and they must put our national bus and truck fleet on a clear path to 100% zero-emission all-electric vehicles as quickly as possible. Please strengthen the final standards, to better protect children from the health harms of air pollution.