Press Release Jun 30, 2020

EPA Approves Weak Texas Haze Plan, Promoting More Air Pollution for our Communities and National Parks

The agency charged with protecting public health and our environment continues to go to great lengths to weaken our nation’s clean air laws.

Washington, DC – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its final Texas Regional Haze Plan that will continue to allow air pollution from Texas coal plants and other facilities to dirty the air in our national parks, harming the health of communities across the state and Southwest.

The pollution from Texas coal plants harms the air we breathe, contributes to hazy skies, and results in missed work and health concerns including heart disease, breathing difficulties and premature death. Haze pollution also threatens nearly 90 percent of our national parks, including Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks in Texas, and other public lands across the region like Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

In response to public support for clean air in and around national parks, EPA proposed a plan in 2016 to clean up haze causing pollutants from more than a dozen Texas coal plants and other sources of pollution. But under the Trump administration, EPA abandoned the proposal, and instead put forward a plan that allows these facilities to emit more unabated pollution.

Statement by Stephanie Kodish, Senior Director and Counsel for the National Parks Conservation Association’s Clean Air Program:

“Texas coal plants emit the most visibility-impairing, lung-damaging sulfur dioxide pollution in the nation. Powering our homes can be done in a way that does not jeopardize the public’s health and the future of our public lands. This final rule falls dismally short in doing this. Texas coal plants are consistently among the dirtiest in the entire nation, spewing dangerous pollution into the air we breathe and across some of our most treasured national parks like Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains. But despite solutions to sharply reduce this pollution, EPA and the state of Texas are refusing to require it, disregarding laws that protect the health of our national parks, as well as the people who visit them and nearby communities.

“It’s unacceptable that the agency charged with protecting public health and our environment continues to go to great lengths to weaken our nation’s clean air laws in favor of industry when technology for clean power is readily available. EPA’s actions fly in the face of law, fact and reason and NPCA will not rest until our communities and parks have the clean air they need and deserve.”

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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 nearly 1.4 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.