|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||June 13, 2002|
|Contact:||Joy Oakes, Director, Mid-Atlantic Region, 202-454-3386
Don Barger, Senior Director, Southeast Region, 865-803-4480
Statement in Response to EPA's Announcement Today of Clean Air Act Rollbacks
"An effective and enforceable New Source Review (NSR) program is essential to protect national parks from existing and future adverse impacts. There is simply no combination of emissions reductions that will clear the air in our parks without cleaning up old, grandfathered power plants, which for 25 years have enjoyed a competitive advantage over newer, cleaner plants. The Administration should be figuring out how to clean up these ancient facilities, rather than how to let them pollute even more.
"How dangerous is air pollution in national parks even under current, stricter standards? It would have been less threatening to your health on Tuesday morning to walk to work in Washington, D.C., which was under a code red pollution alert, than to have hiked an equal distance on the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where ozone levels were about three times the level of those in Washington. Over the past four summers, the park has issued 140 notices of 'unhealthful air' to park staff and visitors.
"Air pollution is one of the most critical threats our parks face, and the Administration proposal will only make the threat worse. While visibility impairment from air pollution is widespread throughout the park system, scenic views are not the only resource at risk. The same pollutants that reduce visibility also contribute to 30,000 premature human deaths yearly. Acid deposition damages natural and cultural resources. Mercury deposition threatens fish and wildlife in a number of parks, including Everglades National Park. Ground level ozone, or smog, threatens the health of park visitors and workers and damages park vegetation. Finally, as the Bush Administration's 2002 U.S. Climate Action Report concludes, global warminga byproduct of air pollutionthreatens parks in many ways, from rising sea level to melting glaciers to changes in biodiversity."