Press Release Jan 18, 2018

EPA Moves to Roll Back Parks’ Clean Air Protections

Positions to roll back rules that protect national parks and visitor health from air pollution.

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today it will revisit updates to clean air protections for national parks finalized last year.

The EPA declared it will revisit aspects of its 2017 revisions to the Regional Haze Rule, the Clean Air Act program designed to clean up air pollution in national parks and wilderness areas.

Air pollution remains one of the biggest threats facing national parks, jeopardizing visitors’ health, obscuring visibility and driving climate change. The Clean Air Act’s mandate to return park air to its natural state was enacted 40 years ago by a bipartisan Congress that sought to protect national parks and wilderness areas from air pollution, and has been a valuable tool for holding polluters accountable and cleaning up our air.

The updates helped strengthen the program by enhancing federal land managers’ roles, including the National Park Service, in plans to identify sources of pollution impacting park air quality and to cut air pollution. Now all this progress may be undone by the Trump administration.

EPA collected input from 2014-2016 from a variety of stakeholders in amending the rule, but now those efforts may be unilaterally undone by the Trump administration.

Statement by Stephanie Kodish, Senior Director & Counsel of National Park Conservation Association’s Clean Air Program:

“Today’s announcement by the EPA that it will consider rolling back these critical improvements to the Regional Haze Rule is nothing but a win for polluters at the expense of our national parks. Rather than stand up for these necessary improvements to the rule, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is advancing his agenda to undermine air protections that safeguard the health of our parks, their visitors and wildlife.

“The Trump administration is systematically taking aim at clean air regulations and the policies that protect our national parks and the sensitive, unique environments and wildlife that thrive within them.

“We have made great strides in reducing air pollution thanks to the Regional Haze Rule. We cannot turn our backs on that progress now. For the sake of public health and the health of our national parks that belong to all Americans, we need sustained implementation of the Regional Haze Rule, not threats to derail the program.”

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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 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.