Statement By Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Program Director, National Parks Conservation Association
“The millions of visitors that travel from around the country and around the world to experience our national parks will benefit from the Clean Power Plan. And so will the future generations that inherit our unique national legacy.
“We expect our national parks to be oases of refuge, timeless and set apart from a changing world. Yet climate changes don’t respect those boundaries. Rising temperatures in Yellowstone are killing the whitebark pine trees that America’s great grizzlies need to survive. The glaciers are melting at Glacier National Park. Entire ecosystems are affected by energy choices made thousands of miles away.
“The Clean Power Plan is set to dramatically reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. These same smokestacks also emit other dangerous pollution that contributes to the ozone and smog that reduces visibility at national parks and wilderness areas. Thanks in part to today’s landmark plan, Americans will be able to see our landmarks again.”
Climate change is having a significant impact on national parks, and will continue to cause substantial changes. Some examples include:
- Within this century glaciers will disappear from Glacier National Park, and Joshua trees will disappear from Joshua Tree National Park.
- Coral reefs are dying in Biscayne and Virgin Islands national parks due to increased heat and disease.
- Insect pests are thriving and are devastating forests from Great Smoky Mountains to Yellowstone.
- As temperatures rise, species are being driven out of the parks and some plants and animals may have nowhere to go.
- Rising sea levels and more powerful hurricanes threaten dozens of historical parks along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
- Wildfires and flash floods threaten ancient American Indian dwellings and artifacts in the Southwest.
- More information is available in the National Parks Conservation Association’s report Unnatural Disaster.
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.
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