Press Release Oct 31, 2014

Clean Air, Park, Public Health Advocates Blast EPA Statement To Delay Critical Air Pollution Protection

Press report indicates EPA planning to push back deadline for Regional Haze Rule

WASHINGTON, DC – Advocates for the national parks, clean air and public health today strongly objected to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to push back a key deadline for the Regional Haze Rule, the Clean Air Act regulation designed to give clear vistas and healthy air to America’s special places. The news broke in a story by E&E News yesterday afternoon.

“EPA’s own analysis already shows that most of our national parks and wildernesses won’t be restored to clean air within the lifetime of any American alive today,” said Stephanie Kodish, Director and Counsel with the Clean Air Program at the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). “The solution is to double down on cleaning up American treasures like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountains instead of making excuses and proposing further delays. EPA can and must do better to honor our national parks.”

“It took more than 35 years and many lawsuits for EPA to get serious about cleaning up the air in our national parks,” said Abigail Dillen, Vice President of Litigation for Climate and Energy with Earthjustice. “This proposal for more delay is a step in exactly the wrong direction.”

“Ridding our national parks of haze and air pollution is a no-brainer,” said John Walke, director of the Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Delays in the regional haze program mean more pollution and more harm to public health. It’s as clear as day that we should move expeditiously, and decisively, to improve visibility and protect the public.”

“Americans expect and deserve clean air in our national parks, and delaying air pollution protections for our most treasured places is unacceptable,“ said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. "From coast-to-coast, our parks are majestic gifts from the generations that came before us, but they are choking on emissions from big polluters. We call on EPA to stick to its original deadline to clean up this pollution, and not delay these long-overdue protections for another three years.”

State and EPA regional haze plans show that even fifty years from now, just ten percent of protected national parks will have the clean air required by law. Almost two out of every three protected areas won’t get there in a hundred years. NPCA has produced a video and other materials showing just how far we have to go (click here to view).

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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.

Earthjustice, the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, wields the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. Because the earth needs a good lawyer.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is one of the nation’s most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.4 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation.