Lost Opportunity for Our Health and National Parks EPA Administrator Fails to Strengthen Current Pollution Standards

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   December 20, 2005
Contact:   Mark Wenzler, NPCA, 202-223-6722, ext. 101, Cell: 202-255-9013


Lost Opportunity for Our Health and National Parks EPA Administrator Fails to Strengthen Current Pollution Standards

- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson had an opportunity today to protect the health of millions more Americans and to improve visibility in some of the country’s haziest national parks by proposing stringent national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) that would lower the amount of fine chemical particles emitted into the air by power plants and other industries. The NAAQS set two standards for fine particles—a primary standard to protect public health and a secondary standard to improve visibility.

Statement by Mark Wenzler, Clean Air Director, National Parks Conservation Association:

“The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is disappointed that Administrator Johnson today chose to reject the recommendations of independent EPA scientists and to instead propose fine particles standards that provide no actual new health or visibility benefits.

“To visualize just how much fine particle pollution is in our air, one need only visit an iconic national park like Shenandoah or Great Smoky Mountains on a hazy summer day. The fine particle haze in these parks can be so thick that hundred-mile views are reduced to just a few miles—spoiling once-majestic mountaintop views and putting millions of lives at risk.

“It’s a travesty for our parks and our lungs that EPA chose to propose fine particle pollution standards which favor the owners of coal plants rather than those recommended by air quality and health scientists. Our national parks and lungs deserve better.”

# # #

Coal-fired power plants are the leading source of fine particle haze in national parks in the Eastern U.S. Hundreds more of these coal plants are currently being developed across the nation, according to recent Department of Energy figures.

For more information on fine particle haze pollution in the national parks, see NPCA’s Code Red report.

For the U.S. Department of Energy’s figures on new coal-fired power plants in development

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