Protect the Air We Breathe: An Agenda for Clean Air

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It’s Time to Act on Air Pollution

Air pollution is among the most serious and wide-ranging problems facing the parks today. Of the 397 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.

Air pollution also causes widespread harm to the environment. It threatens the health of plants, animals and visitors, and damages buildings and cultural resources. Outside the parks, millions live in areas where air pollution increases their risk of serious, even life-threatening health effects, including asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. 

NPCA, the American Lung Association, and environmental advocates have outlined our priorities for clean air legislation and enforcement in 2009 in “Protect the Air We Breathe: An Agenda for Clean Air.” Our top recommendations include cleaning up emissions from coal-fired power plants and ocean-going ships, revising the 2008 ozone standards, and enforcing existing regulations designed to improve air quality. We have presented this report to Congress and the Obama Administration, and hope they will work quickly to address these challenges.

Reducing pollution saves lives and protects our parks.

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