Press Release Dec 15, 2016

EPA Finalizes Updates to Clean Air Rules for Parks, Wilderness Areas

Revisions Delay State Plans to Clean Park Air

WASHINGTON – Below is a statement by Stephanie Kodish, Senior Director and Counsel of the National Parks Conservation Association’s (NPCA) Clean Air Program, following the Obama Administration’s finalization of changes to the Regional Haze Rule, the Clean Air Act program designed to restore natural air quality to national parks and wilderness areas:

“From the expansive vistas of the Grand Canyon to the rolling landscape of the Great Smoky Mountains, clean air is critical to the national park experience visitors seek, yet air pollution remains one of the biggest threats our national parks face. The implementation and enforcement of the Regional Haze Rule over the past five years has resulted in real, measurable and noticeable improvements in national park air quality, benefiting the health of parks, their visitors, and local communities. In spite of this progress, many parks are still centuries away from achieving natural air quality.

“While the Environmental Protection Agency’s now-finalized amendments to the rule will provide states with greater regulatory clarity, they also delay these much-needed haze pollution reduction plans by up to three years and weaken interim reporting requirements. The likely result is critical air quality improvements will be left on the back burner, placing the burden on citizens to hold states accountable for cleaning up pollution harming our parks.

“It is clear our work must continue, and we remain committed to cleaning the air in our national parks and wilderness areas.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.