Rolling back the regulations to allow more air pollution increases harm to public health and the health of national parks.
Washington, DC – Despite public outcry over harm to the environment and even criticism from some leading oil and gas companies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced plans to eliminate standards that currently cut methane and other pollution from oil and gas development. The new plan ignores extensive scientific evidence on the dangers of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and guts 2016 standards that would improve air quality, benefit taxpayers and reduce air and climate pollution affecting national parks.
Rolling back the regulations to allow more air pollution increases harm to public health and the health of national parks, which are visited by more than 330 million people each year.
Methane is a powerful pollutant that speeds up the warming of our climate. Other pollutants from oil and gas development contributes to additional air quality problems, such as smog and ground-level ozone that obscure park views, harm plants and wildlife, and damage human health. A recent report by the National Parks Conservation Association found that 96 percent of our more than 400 national parks are suffering significantly from the effects of air pollution and climate change, though all parks are affected to some degree. Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that over half of the climate warming expected in the next two decades will stem from unabated methane and other climate pollutants. Fortunately, there are clear and feasible solutions to the climate crisis and conserving America’s national parks and other public lands and waters is key.
Statement by Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Program Director for National Parks Conservation Association:
“Addressing air pollution is a win-win for national parks, human health, our economy and the climate. At a time when the climate crisis facing our planet is irrefutable, the Trump administration continues to prioritize the fossil fuel industry’s agenda over the health of our people and parks. The rollback of commonsense regulations provides a free pass for the oil and gas industry to release methane pollution into the atmosphere unchecked, wasting energy and money.
“Nearly every single one of our more than 400 national parks are facing serious threats to their air, land, water and wildlife from air pollution and the effects of climate change. Rampant methane waste in the west has already created a cloud the size of Delaware, hovering over New Mexico’s San Juan Basin and parks including Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
“Implementing policies that reduce pollution from oil and gas development that exacerbate climate change will lead to clearer air and cleaner water in our national parks, providing safer conditions for the millions of people who visit these places every year. NPCA will continue to fight for EPA to do its job limiting pollution from the oil and gas industry, not dismissing climate science and expanding loopholes for polluters.”
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.