|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||June 1, 2012|
|Contact:||Mark Wenzler, Vice President of Clean Air and Climate, National Parks Conservation Association, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-454-3335
Jeff Billington, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, email@example.com, 202.419.3717
New EPA Rule Endangers Health of Cherished National Parks, Wildernesses and Surrounding Communities
Policy will exempt outdated, highly polluting coal-fired power plants from clean air laws that protect air quality in national parks and wilderness areas throughout the Eastern U.S.
Statement by Mark Wenzler, NPCA Vice President of Clean Air and Climate Programs
“By finalizing its so-called “Better Than BART” rule yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ignored detailed scientific data and its own mission, as laid out in the 1977 Clean Air Act, to restore pristine air quality to treasured places like Acadia and Great Smoky Mountains national parks. The new policy puts the long-term health of national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife refuges across the eastern U.S. states, and the communities that depend on them, in jeopardy.
“This new EPA policy exempts some of the oldest and highest polluting coal-fired power plants in 28 eastern states from installing the Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART), which has been shown to cut down air pollution rates by as much as 90 percent. Instead, these states will only have to rely on the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which offers no specific protections for the national parks, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges designated as “Class I areas” that the Clean Air Act mandates be protected.
“By allowing nearly 150 antiquated coal-fired units to avoid installing the most effective pollution controls, the EPA is ignoring the needs of cherished places like Shenandoah, Badlands, and Voyageurs national parks and the people who value them. EPA’s action leaves our national parks, their native wildlife, and the health of visitors and nearby communities vulnerable to higher levels of air pollution for many years to come.
Background: NPCA’s report, Cleaning up the Haze: Protecting People and American Treasured Places, demonstrates how EPA’s “Better than BART” rule will allow hundreds of outdated coal-fired power plants to escape full cleanup. The report notes that EPA could have required emission reductions at the plants that actually affect protected parks and wilderness areas, rather than giving these plants a blanket exemption from laws intended to restore park air quality.
To read the Cleaning up the Haze: Protecting People and America’s Treasured Places report visit: http://www.npca.org/news/reports/cleaning-up-the-haze.html
To see real stories from people who are concerned about air pollution in national parks visit: http://www.npca.org/protecting-our-parks/air-land-water/clean-air/clean-air-geostory.html