For Immediate Release
Sierra Club Applauds EPA Progress to Improve Air Quality in National Parks
WASHINGTON - Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposal to update the Regional Haze Rule, a Clean Air Act protection intended to eliminate harmful air pollution in America’s national parks and wilderness areas. Haze, a mixture of smog and soot, is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels. Sources of haze pollution include coal-fired power plants, oil and gas operations, and vehicle emissions. Haze pollution in our national parks is a pervasive problem that harms visitor health, compromises scenic vistas, and can hinder local economies that depend on tourism.
The current Regional Haze Rule is working to drive reductions in air pollution emissions, but existing loopholes allow polluters to avoid timely cleanup of the country’s most iconic wild places. When finalized, EPA’s update to the protection will provide greater accountability and transparency, giving states the tools and guidance they need to help put national parks on the path to clean, healthy air.
In response to today’s announcement, Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, released the following statement:
“Sierra Club applauds the EPA for moving forward with common sense revisions to the Regional Haze Rule. Our national parks belong to every American, and they deserve to be protected for future generations. When Americans visit their national parks they expect to find fresh, clean air, but sadly, that that is often not the case today, due to nearby coal plants and other polluters. A stronger Regional Haze Rule also means big reductions in a host of dangerous air pollutants, which is particularly important to our most vulnerable park visitors – children and young adults. We urge the Administration to finalize the strongest possible haze pollution protections and give states the clarity and stronger tools they need to act. As we celebrate the centennial of our National Park Service this year, we look forward to mobilizing our membership to support strong Administrative action to guarantee a legacy of clean air in America’s most treasured wild places.”
The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.