|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||July 11, 2007|
|Contact:||Joy Oakes, NPCA Mid-Atlantic Senior Regional Director, Phone: 202.454.3386
Shannon Andrea, NPCA Media Relations Manager, Phone: 202.454.3371
New Report Says Global Warming An "Unnatural Disaster" For National Parks On The Chesapeake Bay
National Parks Conservation Association Highlights Serious Effects of Climate Change, Challenges Congress and White House to Take Action
Washington, DC - The nation's leading park advocacy group, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), today called global warming an "unnatural disaster" for national parks in Maryland and across the country, and called on Congress and the Administration to take action now before the centennial of the National Park System.
"Global warming may be the most far-reaching and serious threat that the National Park System has ever faced," said Joy Oakes, NPCA Mid-Atlantic senior regional director. "We must work together to slow global warming now to protect the future of our national parks."
NPCA's new report, Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming and Our National Parks, warns that if Congress and the Administration do not take action now to slow or halt global climate change, efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and preserve its living riches will become more difficult. For example, warmer water and periodic spikes in salinity are likely to increase outbreaks of two dangerous oyster diseases, further decimating this important commercial and cultural resource that is already in decline due to overharvesting and water pollution.
"Global warming is a hazard to our national parks, and will cause irreversible damage if Congress and the Administration don't put the brakes on dirty coal-fired power plants and other polluters now," said NPCA President Tom Kiernan. But instead of curbing the pollutants that contribute to global warming, the Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed a rule change to allow coal-fired power plants to emit more pollution into our national parks and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. NPCA is urging the agency to abandon the proposal.
More than 50 national parks lie within the Bay's watershed, with a number of shorelines along the Bay or its tributaries. Currently, the C&O Canal, Fort McHenry, and several other parks participate in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, managed by the National Park Service to promote and link Bay-area historical sites and natural areas.
"Like many states, Maryland is taking the necessary steps to reduce in-state carbon dioxide emissions," said Oakes. "Federal leadership remains central to addressing this serious problem."
NPCA recommends that state and federal governments enforce the Clean Air Act to prevent power plants from emitting pollutants that make national park air unhealthy for people and wildlife. The oldest and most polluting coal plants should be retired. Greenhouse gases from power plants and other major industries should be capped and reduced. And state, federal and local governments should turn first to renewable energy and energy efficiency programs to meet growing energy demand. Congress and the Administration should provide adequate funding to enable the National Park Service to help the parks protect natural and cultural resources from the affects of global warming.
"Congress and the Administration should take action now to preserve our national heritage," said NPCA President Tom Kiernan. "We have fewer than 10 years until the 100th birthday of our National Park System-now is the time for action. Taking care of our national parks should be a national priority."
NPCA's report is available online at www.npca.org/globalwarming.