|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||June 27, 2002|
|Contact:||Joy Oakes, National Parks Conservation Association, 202-454-3386|
Statement of Joy Oakes on Senate Committee passage of "Clean Power Act"
America's national parks are irreplaceable, priceless icons visited by more than 275 million people each year. The pollution from ancient coal- and oil-burning power plants causes industrial haze, acid rain, smog, mercury contamination, and global warming in parks across America.
Twenty-five years ago, Congress required that parks have the cleanest air in the country. Instead, many parks suffer some of America's dirtiest air. On many summer days, a walk in Great Smoky Mountains National Park would expose you to more air pollution than in a large city. Over the past four summers, the park has suffered a total of 140 days when the air was unsafe to breathe. Approximately half of the trout streams in Virginia, many of which are in Shenandoah National Park, are acidic, and continue to get more acidic and less able to support fish. Fish-consumption advisories are in effect for water bodies at Everglades National Park due to high levels of mercury contamination. Global warming threatens to melt glaciers at Glacier National Park and to destabilize ecosystems from Alaska to Florida.
The Clean Power Act is an essential step to make America's parks and people healthier. We are grateful for the vision, leadership, and dedication of Senator Jim Jeffords in moving this important legislation forward. We also appreciate the support this bill has from Republicans and Democrats both on and off the Environment and Public Works Committee.