By: Vanessa Lynch, Pennsylvania field coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: April 13, 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 Vanessa Lynch, and I am a field organizer in Pennsylvania for Moms Clean Air Force. I live in Pittsburgh with my husband and two children.
EPA’s proposed air pollution controls for heavy-duty engine and vehicle standards are a good step forward, though the proposal must be strengthened. Protecting the health of children and other vulnerable populations requires stronger action. A rapid transition to zero-emitting trucks powered by zero-emitting electric power sources is what parents across the country want to see. We need cleaner air for our children and our communities.
In my local community, we are experiencing climate impacts in the form of landslides and major rain events becoming much more frequent. My family was recently forced to install an interior French drain due to flooding in our basement. Mold and mildew growth cause major home repair issues and health concerns as a result of the increase in rain in our region.
From 2010 to 2020, Pennsylvania experienced 37 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages, illustrating the increasing financial burden climate change is becoming for Pennsylvania’s families.
The largest source of climate pollution in the US is the transportation sector, responsible for 29% of all climate pollution. Within the transportation sector, heavy-duty vehicles are the second-largest contributor, at 23%.
Unfortunately, freight corridors are predominantly located in low-income communities and communities of color leaving these communities to face the cumulative impact of air pollution from multiple mobile, commercial, and industrial sources. Compounding these cumulative impacts are the serious current and historical social justice difficulties, which these communities often experience. Eliminating emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, especially through a rapid transition to zero-emission vehicles powered by zero-emission electric power sources, is essential for making strides toward desperately needed cleaner air in these communities and a safer climate for all.
Finally, the greenhouse gas portion of EPA’s heavy-duty truck proposal is weak. It reflects neither the urgency of the climate crisis nor the rapid advancement in zero-emission truck technology. The states that have adopted the Advance Clean Truck Rule (California plus 5 other states) have already committed to a certain percentage of EV trucks and buses in just those 6 states. Those commitments alone will deliver three times what the EPA is saying will be required across the whole US. That means that existing state policies would already deliver three times the zero-emission vehicles that the proposed rule currently calls for nationally in 2027.
The bottom line is we know there is hope for avoiding the worst consequences of climate change if we embrace ambitious climate solutions to protect our children’s health and future. Be bold.