By: Tracy Sabetta, Ohio Field Organizer, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: August 25, 2021
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0208
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Good morning and thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you today in support of an EPA proposal to set the strongest possible federal clean car standards through 2026. My name is Tracy Sabetta, and I am a mother and a member of Moms Clean Air Force from Pickerington, Ohio, just outside Columbus.
Ohio ranks fifth in the number of cars sold by state and lags embarrassingly behind in public transit infrastructure and opportunities. We are a proud automotive manufacturing state, dating back to the introduction of the Allen model in Fostoria, Ohio, in 1913. We have a rich history in producing combustion engines and supporting the supply chain that goes along with it. My own family is proud to include two generations of Ohio auto workers. Throughout the decades, the industry here has had to adapt to ever-changing customer demands and advances in automotive technology and design. Ohio’s workforce has risen to meet those demands every time.
Now, we must rise to the occasion again, putting automakers back on track to meet ambitious pollution reduction goals. By acting swiftly to develop these standards, the Biden administration is taking a critical first step to tackle climate pollution from transportation.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, Ohio ranks seventh in the nation for the amount of total carbon pollution. The American Lung Association’s 2021 State of the Air Report also indicates that nearly 200,000 Ohio children are currently battling asthma. We see racial disparities in these asthma rates as low-wealth and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities experience disproportionate harm from vehicle pollution. Adopting strong clean car standards that will limit pollution from dirty vehicles would subsequently help advance environmental justice, addressing inequitable transportation-related health impacts and protecting our most vulnerable.
We know that pollution from the transportation sector accounts for about 29% of the total US greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor. Between 1990 and 2019, transportation sector pollution increased more in absolute terms than any other sector. I am fortunate that my daughter was not born with a respiratory illness, but many of her friends were not that lucky. Pollution increases the frequency and severity of their asthma attacks and robs them of the opportunity to be a kid enjoying the outdoors the way most of us did as children. Extreme heat here in Columbus has closed 20 buildings in our city school district today—slated to be the first day of school for these kids.
To reduce these harmful pollution levels and dire climate impacts and set us on the path to 100% zero-emissions new vehicles by 2035, the near-term standards for climate pollution must be as strong as possible. Please do not accept options that allow loopholes for automakers that may undermine otherwise strong pollution reduction targets. Alternative #2 would put 400,000 extra electric vehicles on the road by 2026 and result in 130 million metric tons fewer greenhouse gas emissions. I urge you adopt the strongest standards possible for passenger cars and light trucks through 2026.
On behalf of the nearly 81,000 Moms Clean Air Force members in Ohio, I thank you for this opportunity to testify today and urge you to go that extra mile to protect our children’s health from transportation pollution.