Press Release Jun 19, 2019

The Administration Scraps Climate Protections, Sacrificing National Parks to More Air Pollution

Final replacement rule threatens public health and the health of our national parks, which are visited by more than 330 million people each year.

Washington, DC – Today, after more than twenty months since the Trump administration took steps to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final replacement rule, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which will not require power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The Clean Power Plan – unveiled by President Obama in 2015 – established the first-ever national limits on carbon dioxide pollution. This plan aimed to combat the climate crisis while saving the United States billions of dollars in climate and health-related costs. But in August 2018, Trump’s EPA announced the draft replacement rule, which prioritized the interests of the fossil fuel industry over the future of our public lands and public health. Despite public outcry and criticism from notable scientists, states and past EPA regulators, the administration today released a final replacement rule that will strip domestic efforts to limit carbon dioxide emissions from the power plant sector, allowing more air pollution that threatens public health and the health of our parks, which are visited by more than 330 million people each year. Under the administration’s replacement rule, Americans will face more premature deaths, asthma attacks and respiratory diseases, based on EPA’s own analysis.

“As the administration issues policies that fail to mitigate the climate crises, national parks from coast to coast are being affected by rising sea levels and unusually powerful storms, while mountain ranges are experiencing widespread melting of glaciers, and wildlife are struggling for survival,” said Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Program Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “The Clean Power Plan replacement rule is an obvious attempt by the administration to let polluters dodge responsibility for harming our national parks, people, and planet. This action is unacceptable and will have serious consequences for our parks and the millions of people who visit and live nearby.”

The EPA is charged with safeguarding human health and the environment, including reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Yet under the administration’s leadership, the agency is neglecting its mission. Today air pollution is on the rise, enforcement actions against polluters have plummeted by 85 percent, and now scientists project that we will are facing the climate crisis much sooner than previously thought. According to a recent study by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), nearly every single one (96 percent) of our more than 400 national parks is plagued by air pollution problems.

“The effects of air pollution on our national parks are even more widespread and distressing than previously thought,” said Ani Kame'enui, Director of Legislation & Policy for NPCA. “Even more troubling are the effects of climate change across the entire National Park System, which is a significant concern for 80 percent of our national parks. Portions of coastal parks like Everglades are eroding into the sea from rising sea levels, forested parks like Rocky Mountain and Yosemite are experiencing record wildfires and desert parks like Joshua Tree and Grand Canyon often lack adequate water to sustain their plant and animal life. If we don’t take immediate action to combat the climate crisis, the results will be devastating and irreversible, which is why NPCA will continue to fight for action within EPA and in Congress to address climate change.”

More information about the proposed rule can be found here.

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About National Parks Conservation Association For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 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/100.