April 22, 1999
Hazy Skies, Spoiled Views. Air pollution from power plants, cars and factories travels hundreds or thousands of miles to some of our countrys most remote lands, creating serious air pollution problems in many national parks and federal wilderness areas. During much of the year, a veil of white or brown haze hangs over many parks, obscuring some of our most famous scenic vistas. This haze is caused primarily by tiny particles in the air that absorb and scatter sunlight, reducing the clarity and color of what we see.
In the Grand Canyon, haze on some days reduces visibility from 128 miles to 68 miles, a loss of nearly 50 percent. Other examples: Acadia (from 74 to 19 miles), Glacier (from 84 to 35 miles), Great Smoky Mountains (from 55 to 15 miles), Mount Rainier (from 103 to 21 miles), and Yosemite (from 132 to 41 miles).In addition to reducing visibility, pollutants such as soot and smog pose serious health risks, particularly to those suffering chronic respiratory disease. Air pollution also threatens park-related economic activity visitors spend over $10 billion in national parks and surrounding communities, generating over 200,000 jobs.
Restoring Pristine Skies. One goal of the federal Clean Air Act is to eliminate impairments to visibility in national parks and wilderness areas resulting from manmade pollution. The new Environmental Protection Agency "regional haze" rule announced today represents a long-range national strategy for achieving that goal. The rule:
Earth Day 1999
New National Strategy to Restore Pristine Skies in National Parks & Wilderness Areas
Lasting Protection for our Natural Treasures
Clearing the Air in our National Parks
Remarks by Vice President Al Gore at Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal, Virginia
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