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Brighton mom, environmental activist, helps promote electric vehicles, new EPA rules

By Farah Siddiqi/

Cleaner cars and lower emissions across Michigan and the nation are the goals of an event by environmental groups. They are calling attention to an Environmental Protection Agency proposal, recommending ambitious new standards to help reduce vehicle emissions starting with the 2027 model year.

Advocates of tougher emissions rules took to America’s highways for a relay across the country including a stop in Detroit in May. They call it the “Route Zero Relay,” saying it is important to make electric vehicles more affordable to help clean up the air.

Cara Cook, director of programs for the Alliance of Nurses for a Healthy Environment, said it is going to take a lot more work to address climate change.

“It’s really important that EPA sets the strongest long-term standards as possible,” Cook asserted. “Because we really need to be reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are being emitted across a variety of sectors, but particularly the transportation sector.”

According to Consumer Reports, stronger standards would save drivers $2,400 over the life of a new vehicle, and 70% of the benefits of those standards would be seen by drivers of pickup trucks and SUVs. Opponents have said they would increase the initial price tag.

Michigan groups agreed addressing tailpipe pollution will lead to public health benefits.

Elizabeth Hauptman of Brighton, Michigan field consultant for the group Moms Clean Air Force, said state and local governments should also be doing their part to speed the transition to cleaner vehicles. She noted her family has firsthand experience with health concerns.

“Well, my son has asthma, and he is one of over 253,000 kids here in Michigan who suffer from this chronic illness,” Hauptman pointed out. “The health impact from climate change is increased respiratory illness, so it is important for our families and their future that we protect them from these tailpipe emissions.”

Elizabeth Hauptman is the Moms Clean Air Force field coordinator in Brighton, Michigan.

The American Lung Association said tailpipe pollution contains toxins compromising air quality and harming public health, including increasing people’s risk of asthma, lung disease and cancer.

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