Above: Thanks to work to eliminate coal-fired power plants from Oregon and Washington by 2024, skies will be clearer at places like Mount Rainier National Park. Photo © Danny Warren/iStockphoto.
NPCA at Work | Cleaning Up Haze | Victories | Reports | Pollution in Parks | Sources
NPCA works nationally and regionally to improve air conditions around the country.
Clean Air Victories!
Rocky Mountain National Park: In July 2014, NPCA reached a settlement requiring the best pollution controls on one of the oldest units at the Craig Station coal plant in Colorado. By the 2021 deadline, Rocky Mountain National Park—along with other national parks, wilderness areas, and communities in the region—will experience cleaner, healthier air as a result of this victory.
Acadia National Park & Northeast Region: In May 2014, NPCA’s efforts to permanently end the impacts of coal plant pollution from New York’s Danskammer Generating Station were rewarded. Under pressure from NPCA and allies, owner Helios Power Capital announced that it would not burn coal if the plant is restarted (it is not currently operating). Danskammer’s pollution impacts multiple national parks and wilderness areas in the region, including Acadia National Park in Maine.
Voyageurs and Isle Royale National Parks: In June 2014, as a result of a 5+ year effort, NPCA and the Environmental Protection Agency filed a Consent Decree with the Court establishing a schedule to review the pollution control plan the atXcel Energy’s Sherburne County coal plant in Minnesota. The plant affects air quality at Voyageurs and Isle Royale National Parks. Once entered by the Court the agreement will require a review of the plant’s park impacts and determination of best emission controls by August 2015.
Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Rocky Mountain National Parks: In January 2014, NPCA’s advocacy in Wyoming resulted in a plan to benefit the region’s national parks by limiting pollution from 10 of the state’s outdated coal-fired power plants. By requiring the installation of modern pollution control technology, the plan will reduce the state’s emissions of nitrogen oxide pollution by 65,000 tons each year. Less pollution will mean cleaner air and water at Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, and other parks in the region—along with benefits to the health and well-being of visitors and neighboring communities.
Canaveral National Seashore & Sun Coast Region: In August 2013, EPA made Duke Energy’s commitment to retire two of the coal-fired units at its Crystal River Energy Complex legally enforceable. The company opted to close them rather than install the required pollution controls that NPCA advocated for- resulting in even benefits for park air, and the climate too! The power plant, located on the western coast of Florida, impacts protected national parks and wilderness areas in Florida and Georgia.
Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks: In June 2013, the Nevada Legislature passed legislation to shut down the state’s most notorious air polluter—the Reid Gardner Generating Station. The coal-fired power plant hurts air quality at many of the region’s parks, including Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks and nearby Lake Mead National Recreation Area—the fifth most-visited site in our National Park System. NPCA has long advocated for cleanup of Reid Gardner’s pollution. Three of the four units at the plant are on track to close by the end of 2014, with the remaining unit to close by 2017.
• For the past several years, NPCA staff and supporters have been very involved in obtaining adequate pollution controls for the taconite industry, through state and federal processes like the Regional Haze Rule—a law requiring cleaner air in large national parks and wilderness areas. In January 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to regulate emissions on taconite facilities that impact air quality in Voyageurs and Isle Royale National Parks!
• For decades NPCA has advocated for park air quality protections and currently leads a national coalition whose efforts have resulted in an agreement mandating enforceable air plans for 47 states. Now we are making sure those plans lead to serious air pollution reductions from big, old, dirty power plants and other polluters impacting parks.
• NPCA is working to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency does not let old, park-polluting power plants off the hook. Learn more about the impact these big coal plants have on our parks, and the pollution controls EPA should require to clean them up, in NPCA’s Cleaning Up the Haze report and comments to EPA.
• NPCA has been defending the cleanup—as required by the Clean Air Act—of the San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico, a major pollution source impacting some of the most iconic parks in the Southwest.
• Thanks to the advocacy of NPCA and allies, Oregon and Washington will soon see less pollution, and by 2024, both states will be fully free from coal-fired power plants that have been hammering majestic parks like Mt. Rainier and the North Cascades with pollution for decades.
• NPCA recently reached a historic agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority to retire some of its coal-fired power plants and reduce pollutants in the region.
• NPCA's California Clean Air and Climate program focuses on outreach, education, legislation and advocacy to promote cleaner air in the Pacific region. Field offices in Fresno, Joshua Tree, and San Francisco work with the parks, public, decisionmakers, and schools to fight for cleaner air.
• NPCA successfully fought an unnecessary power plant near Hampton Roads, Virginia. Thanks to more than 9,000 supporters who spoke out against it, Old Dominion Electric Company suspended its plans to build the plant. As a result, the air around several national parks will be subjected to less haze from airborne emissions, and people in nearby communities will be able to breathe easier, too.
• NPCA helps coordinate a network of businesses in Virginia who voluntarily pledge to promote cleaner air. Learn more about the Virginians for Healthy Air Network.