Air pollution is among the most serious threats facing national parks. Dirty air can discolor and warp the horizon and cut miles and miles off of scenic views. It is also harmful to plants, fish, and other wildlife, and even affects the health of visitors and park staff. Most of the air pollution affecting national parks results from the burning of fossil fuels, especially by coal-fired power plants but vehicles, agricultural and industrial emissions are also contributors.
The Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule requires the restoration of natural air quality in America’s most treasured national parks and wilderness areas, however loopholes in the law are a barrier to achieving clean air. Many of our parks are decades – even centuries – from reaching the goal of clean, healthy air. Visitors, wildlife, and ecosystems are paying the price.
The Obama administration can close these loopholes and secure clean, healthy air today at places like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountains—but only if action is taken now.
In the spirit of the Centennial anniversary of the National Park System in 2016, please ask the President to strengthen this essential clean air rule to give national parks and their millions of visitors the gift clean, healthy air in the next decade and for generations to come.