Press Release Jul 18, 2017

House Votes to Weaken Clean Air Protections for Parks, Visitors

Passes “Smoggy Skies Act.”

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today voted to delay critical air pollution standards that protect public health and national parks from the dangers of smog-causing ozone pollution.

The House approved H.R. 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act, better known as the “Smoggy Skies Act.” The bill would delay implementation of standards finalized last year to lower the acceptable limit of ozone pollution, a byproduct of pollution from automobiles, coal-fired power plants and other industrial sources.

The bill would also permanently weaken the Clean Air Act by undermining the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to set science-based standards for six major pollutants to adequately protect public health and the environment.

Smog is associated with increased risks of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, particularly for the young, the elderly and people exercising outdoors. Smog can also have devastating effects on wildlife, vegetation and the fragile environments in our national parks.

The bill comes as the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and a coalition of health, conservation and other groups recently filed suit against the EPA’s move to delay the implementation of the new smog rule.

Below is a statement by Stephanie Kodish, director of NPCA’s Clean Air Program:

“National parks and their visitors deserve clean air, but today the House chose to give them just the opposite. Places like Joshua Tree, Yosemite and national parks across the country already suffer from significant ozone pollution. Needlessly postponing the reduction of this pollution only threatens human health, park plants and wildlife, and the multi-billion dollar tourism and recreation economy these places support. Based on today’s vote, the majority of the members of the House have chosen to prioritize the interests of polluters over the health of people and our parks. Now it is up to the Senate to reject this proposal to ensure our air is clean to breath for the millions of people that visit our national parks every year.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 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.