Press Release Oct 1, 2015

Ozone Rule Good Step, Missed Opportunity for National Parks

Statement by Stephanie Kodish, head of NPCA’s Clean Air Program

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed new limit for ground-level ozone pollution, a driver of smog that endangers public health and ecosystems.

The proposal calls for lowering the limit for ground-level ozone pollution – formed by the chemical interactions of pollution from power plants, vehicles, and other sources – from the current level of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb. A scientific advisory panel at the EPA recommended a new standard of between 60 and 70 ppb.

Below is a statement by Stephanie Kodish, head of NPCA’s Clean Air Program:

“Today’s finalized rule is a much-needed step toward helping to protect Americans’ health from dangerous air pollution. Lowering ozone levels will better protect the sensitive lungs of children and the health of all who enjoy outdoor activities in local, state and national parks.

“However, today’s announcement is also a missed opportunity. The ozone standard finalized today at 70 parts per billion will not have the health benefits it could and fails to establish a separate and necessary standard for ecosystems. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to protect not only public health from air pollution but also our forests, streams, lakes, parks, and wildlife. In failing to adopt this additional standard, EPA is putting ecosystems at risk, blatantly disregarding decades of research, the advice of its own science advisors, and the law.

"We are disappointed that EPA failed to take steps to better protect national parks from ozone pollution, and we hope the agency will pursue other means to reduce air pollution that plagues our parks. For example, EPA is reviewing the Regional Haze Rule, the Clean Air Act provision designed to protect the air quality in our national parks, many of which experience poor air quality on a regular basis. The EPA can help protect our parks and their visitors by strengthening the Regional Haze Rule to put our parks on the path to clean air.”

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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.