Sunday, July 25, 2021 | 2 a.m.
As the mother of a 4-year-old son with respiratory issues, I can speak to life in a traffic-congested area where pollution from cars and trucks aggravates my son’s breathing on a nearly daily basis.
It’s a constant battle for my family, yet I know I am not alone in this struggle. Across the country, families like mine suffer the impacts of air pollution from the transportation sector — our nation’s largest source of carbon pollution and the largest contributor to climate change — first and worst.
Heat waves like the one experienced this month in Las Vegas — which matched the highest temperature ever observed in our city — can be downright deadly for vulnerable kids with asthma and other respiratory issues.
These extreme temperatures are happening more often and are lasting longer than anything I experienced growing up here in Las Vegas. As a child, one of my most memorable homework assignments for science class was to fry an egg on the sidewalk outside my house. Now, doctors warn us that our children could get burns if in prolonged contact with the very same pavement during this record-breaking heat wave. With average temperatures soaring faster in Nevada than any other state in the country, the climate crisis is hitting home, harming our health and future more rapidly than I could ever have imagined when I was a kid frying an egg on the sidewalk.
Several years ago, out of concern for my community and my family, I began to speak out against the dangers of air pollution and climate change. This year, I was proud to represent Moms Clean Air Force and EcoMadres before the Nevada Assembly in support of legislation to address smog from cars and trucks, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak. I also spoke at a virtual public hearing held by President Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency on the restoration of state authority to address dirty vehicle pollution, which was illegally rolled back by the previous administration.
Everyone has a right to breathe clean air, and fighting air pollution is especially important for vulnerable groups like older Nevadans and children like my son. In fact, Latino children are 60% more at risk of having asthma attacks exacerbated by air pollution, and 40% more likely to die from an asthma attack. For the over 40,000 children who have asthma in Clark County, their very future depends on our leaders taking action to clean up our air.
A recent report by the American Lung Association found that the Las Vegas metro area ranked 12th in the nation for ozone pollution, and Clark County ranked 17th for most polluted places for both ozone and particle pollution. Improving our air quality is an environmental justice issue for communities and families like mine, and we need to invest in clean energy development to mitigate the disproportionate impacts that pollution has had on our communities.
By supporting policies that will bolster Nevada and the United States’ transition to a clean transportation future, we can do just that. As initially outlined, the president’s proposed infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan, would install 500,000 charging stations across the country and invest $174 billion into expanding our clean vehicle economy. Just as important, the full plan calls for at least 40% of the benefits of the proposed investments to be directed toward marginalized communities.
Not only is Biden’s plan smart, it’s also popular among the public. In Southern Nevada, residents of the 3rd and 4th congressional districts — the state’s top battleground districts — strongly favor Biden’s plan and its provisions designed to address climate change. A recent poll found that 65% of respondents in each district are more likely to support the proposal after hearing the plan would expand the use of clean energy, such as wind and solar power, to tackle the climate crisis and create jobs. Additionally, 64% of voters in the 3rd district and 61% of voters in the 4th district support investing in a clean vehicle economy.
My son and the more than 40,000 kids in Las Vegas with asthma need bold climate action as quickly as possible. Now is the time for our nation to go big on an infrastructure package that will invest in our children’s future. The president’s plan meets the moment by investing in clean energy, clean infrastructure and clean transportation. Southern Nevada’s congressional delegation has always fought side by side with us for a better future, and we need them to hold firm and support a bold plan to truly help us build back better. Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee, and Steven Horsford, and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen: Your communities are counting on you.
Cinthia Zermeño Moore is an EcoMadres national lead and Nevada field organizer for the Moms Clean Air Force, a national organization of more than 1.5 million parents united against air pollution to protect our children’s health. She lives in east Las Vegas with her family.
Originally Appeared Here