By: Trisha Dello Iacono, National Field & Legislative Manager, 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
Good morning, my name is Trisha Dello Iacono, and I live in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, a small suburb just outside of Philadelphia. Thank you for this opportunity to offer my comments in a format that is safe and accessible to many.
I am the National Field and Legislative Manager for Moms Clean Air Force, an organization made up of parents fighting to protect our children’s health from the pollution that is fueling climate change and harming our children. I am here today on behalf of our more than 1 million parents from across the country to support this administration’s proposal to reinstate state authority to set stronger clean car standards.
I am also here today as a mom to four young children and two step-kids, one of whom suffers from severe asthma and allergies. As a mom and stepmom, I care deeply about safety and efficiency—and pollution. This impacts my family directly. My stepson, an avid athlete and junior in high school, is the one suffering when heat waves and high ozone days in the Northeast trigger his asthma attacks. Over 26 million people in the US—including more than 6 million children—suffer from asthma. The limits on vehicle pollution that protect them should never have been rolled back—particularly when battling a public health crisis that is especially lethal for those with respiratory trouble.
The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon pollution in the US. Cleaning up vehicle pollution is one of the most important things we can do to fight climate change. We must allow states to protect their families from the climate crisis.
My parents currently operate one of the largest farms in South Jersey. I grew up on this farm and have personally watched the impacts of climate change affect the success of my parents’ farming business. Increased heavy downpours and higher temperatures mean a decrease in crop yield and an increase in pesticide use and anti-fungicides. Higher temperatures cause plants to use more water to keep cool and result in a reduced yield when daytime temperatures exceed 90 degrees for even short periods. Warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide concentration also contribute to an increase in plant diseases, resulting in higher concentrations and more frequent spraying of toxic chemical pesticides.
Climate change impacts are already being seen across my garden state. Transportation pollution has surpassed that of the power sector. Clean car standards are our country’s best tool in fighting dangerous climate change.
President Biden’s restoration of this Clean Air Act authority will be pivotal for additional states looking to push ahead with more ambitious clean vehicle initiatives and go even further than the federal government. It will help ensure that cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs emit less greenhouse gas pollution and are more fuel-efficient, protecting our health and saving drivers money every trip to the gas station.
Strong fuel economy and pollution standards clean the air and save us money.
As moms, we want our cars to be clean and fuel efficient. And as Americans, we deserve clean air.
I urge this administration to move forward on setting ambitious federal clean car standards as well. These standards have already gone through a rigorous technical review process, which found that auto manufacturers have the technology to meet the standards. I urge you to keep these standards as originally designed to ensure the greatest reductions in climate pollution.