Press Release Sep 26, 2019

Administration Points Blame at International Emissions in Attempt to Let U.S. Polluters Off the Hook

While the administration attempts to point a finger at international emissions to let domestic polluters off the hook, the EPA model also shows that pollution continues to harm park and wilderness air quality.

Washington, D.C. – According to updated modeling released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is meant to provide an understanding of how air pollution continues to impact views at protected public landscapes, EPA attempts to blame pollution from oversees while at the same time calling into question its own reliability in measuring international pollution’s impact on haze.

The Clean Air Act and Regional Haze Rule require that all states make progress towards restoring natural air quality and visibility to specific national parks. The most important question that remains is not how close a park is to achieving clean air, but what are the sources of pollution that continue to harm it, and what will states do in the second round of regional haze planning to clean up that pollution?

What we do know is that coal plants have been the greatest contributor to visibility impairment and as they retire and reduce emissions, air quality in our parks and communities are improving. Unfortunately, emissions from oil and gas development are also on the rise, eating away at these improvements.

Statement by Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Program Director for the National Parks Conservation Association:

“While the administration attempts to point a finger at international emissions to let domestic polluters off the hook, the model also shows that pollution continues to harm park and wilderness air quality. With nearly every single one of our national parks – from Acadia to Zion – continuing to suffer from serious air pollution problems, there is more work that needs to be done.

“As the second phase of regional haze planning continues, it’s critical that we stick to what we know and what science has proven – oil and gas, coal and vehicles continue to contribute to air pollution causing haze. These remain the top sources of pollution that states must tackle to improve our nation’s air quality that will provide cleaner air for people and parks everywhere. EPA must stop using others at scapegoats. Clean air laws are unequivocal: states must reduce their pollution impairing visibility.”

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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.