|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||July 20, 2001|
|Contact:||Andrea Keller, National Parks Conservation Association, 202-454-3332; cell: 202-320-7844
B.A.R.T. Guidelines Published; NPCA Calls for Strong Rule to Protect Air in National Parks
Washington, D.C. - The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) national park visibility protection guidelines, known as the B.A.R.T. (Best Available Retrofit Technology) rule, were published in the Federal Register today. A 60-day comment period follows in which citizens are invited to submit comments to the EPA about the rule. BART benefits the national parks by helping states control haze-causing emissions from older power plants.
"We need to clear the air in our national parksby issuing a strong final rule governing BART guidelines," said Don Barger, Southeast regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). "As the Bush Administration lays out its strategy for future power production, clean, breathable air must be a basic requirement, not an optional consideration.
"Air pollution in the parks has gotten steadily worse, and grandfathered power plants are huge contributors to the problem. If we are going to create new sources of energy, we're going to have to clean up the old ones."
Power plant emissions are recognized as causing both degraded visibility and damage to plant life in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Researchers have documented damage and ozone pollution problems that rival those of major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Georgia. NPCA named Great Smoky Mountains and Texas's Big Bend national parks to its 2001 list of America's Ten Most Endangered National Parks because of toxic air pollution. Similar problems threaten Shenandoah, Sequoia, and Yosemite national parks and other public lands across the nation.