Senators Carper and Alexander Introduce Clean Air Bills That Will Restore Clear Skies and Address Global Warming in National Parks

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   April 19, 2007
Contact:   Mark Wenzler, NPCA, P: 202-454-3335


Senators Carper and Alexander Introduce Clean Air Bills That Will Restore Clear Skies and Address Global Warming in National Parks

Statement By NPCA Director of Clean Air Programs Mark Wenzler

"Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Thomas Carper (D-DE) today introduced separate but related bills designed to provide healthier air to millions of Americans, clean up the air pollution plaguing our treasured public lands, and take an important first step towards reducing the threat of global warming. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) commends the senators for providing a comprehensive plan to address the multiple threats that coal-fired power plants present to the health of our national parks.

Places like Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah,  Everglades, and Yosemite national parks were set aside to protect some of the most important ecosystems in the country, yet they have become dumping grounds for unsightly and even toxic air pollutants. Coal-fired power plants are the leading source of pollutants that cause acid rain, hazy skies, toxic mercury, and unhealthy air in many of our national parks. They are also the leading industrial emitters of the global warming pollution that threatens all national parks, especially the many “crown jewel” parks of Alaska.

According to an NPCA analysis, more than 150 of the 390 parks in the National Park System are located in areas of the country that fail to meet basic healthy air standards.  Air pollution degrades the health, habitat, horizons and heritage protected by national parks throughout the nation. For more information, visit: www.npca.org/turningpoint.

In a forthcoming report, NPCA finds that the effects of global warming are beginning to be felt in our national parks, and damages will increase dramatically if we fail to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example,

-Warming ocean temperatures may drive salmon out of southern Alaska and warmer rivers may increase parasites that make salmon unusable.
-On the Pacific Coast, warming and droughts have made wildfire season longer and more damaging, increasing insect damage in our national parks.
-Warming temperatures in Appalachian parks like the Smokies and Shenandoah might make the park unsuitable for brook trout, and could even lead to the elimination of fir trees.
-In the waters surrounding the Everglades, warming will contribute to an increasing number of toxic algal blooms and will threaten coral reefs.

As responsible stewards of our national parks, Congress must act now to reduce the grave threats posed by air pollution and climate change. These bills will help ensure that our treasured national parks are preserved and protected, unimpaired, for the enjoyment of future generations."

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