National Parks Group Applauds Washington Governor, State Legislature for Acting to Preserve Mount Rainier & Olympic National Parks by Closing Pollution Causing Centralia Power Plant

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   April 29, 2011
Contact:   Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Counsel, National Parks Conservation Association, skodish@npca.org, 865.329.2424
Jeff Billington, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, jbillington@npca.org, 202.419.2717


National Parks Group Applauds Washington Governor, State Legislature for Acting to Preserve Mount Rainier & Olympic National Parks by Closing Pollution Causing Centralia Power Plant

Statement by NPCA Clean Air Counsel Stephanie Kodish

“Today, Gov. Gregoire signed into law legislation that will literally clear the air above two of Washington state’s most beautiful and iconic natural areas, Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks. This bill provides early retirement and interim pollution controls to limit haze-causing pollution from Washington’s biggest national park polluter, TransAlta’s coal-fired Centralia Power Plant.

“TransAlta has impaired air quality in a dozen protected public landscapes for generations. This bill signifies that this plant’s impact on these public spaces will be mitigated and ultimately brought to an end. Our generation and those to come will reap the benefits of this legislation when they experience scenic park vistas at Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks that are less hampered by haze pollution and breathe cleaner air.

“By 2020, TransAlta will be required to cut the poisonous emissions at this plant by roughly half and by 2025 end its pollution. This is welcome news for both those who live near the plant and for visitors to Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks. For years, this plant has produced thousands of tons of pollutants and caused an unnatural haze that mars scenic views of Mount Rainier and the Olympic Range. Haze pollution is also harmful to our health, causing respiratory illness, heart disease and strokes. It is not uncommon for a family to arrive in a national park on a summer day, only to be confronted with unhealthy air quality making it unsafe for hiking. In addition, pollution from TransAlta’s coal plant harms wildlife, native trees and lakes.

“While this represents a major victory for the people of Washington and our national parks, there is much more work that remains to be done across the country to combat air pollution. In fact, one in three national parks across the country now suffer from air pollution levels that exceed health standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If we want to protect our natural and cultural wonders, keep our vital tourism industry flourishing, preserve jobs and the economy, we must clean up outdated coal plants and invest in energy efficiency and clean energy sources instead of putting public health and our national parks at risk.”

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