|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||February 24, 2009|
|Contact:||Kathleen O'Neil, National Parks Conservation Association, 202.419.3717|
Court Rejects Air Pollution Rules as Inadequate
New Standards Needed to Better Protect Health and Visibility
Washington, D.C. – The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) applauds a federal court’s decision today to require the tougher clean air standards to better protect health and national parks.
The United States Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia found that federal standards for particulate air pollution are not adequate to protect health and safeguard visibility, as required by the Clean Air Act. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been directed to revise the standards.
Earthjustice filed a suit challenging the standards on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association, the American Lung Association, and the Environmental Defense Fund. A number of states also sued over the standards.
“This is a significant victory for our parks,” said Mark Wenzler, National Parks Conservation Association’s director of clean air and climate. “This Administration has an opportunity to make good on a 30-year congressional mandate to restore the air in our national parks for our children and grandchildren."
Air pollution is among the most serious and wide-ranging problems facing the parks today. Of the 391 parks within the National Park System, 150 are located in parts of the country that fail to meet one or more national healthy air standards. Fine particulate pollution has cut summertime visibility at Blue Ridge Parkway by 80 percent. And Acadia National Park’s estimated natural visibility is 110 miles, but particulate pollution reduces the visibility to about 33 miles.
In addition to contributing to cardiovascular disease and decreased lung function, and high levels of particulate pollution can also impair visibility, damage vegetation and buildings, and disrupt ecosystems.
For more information on air quality and parks, please click here.