Friday, May 16, 2008

Bush Admin Wants Power Plants Next To Nat'l Parks

When I was a kid, my dad took me on a camping trip to Northern California and one day we drove from the east into Yosemite National Park. Snow covered the ground in July and the air was crystal clear, the smell of the redwoods covered in moss were unforgettable. The area with all of the hotels and sights of Halfdome were congested with cars, but not too bad considering where we were. Now as a parting shot from the Bush Administration, that clean air will be replaced by the dirty soot of power plants that are being allowed to be built next door.

From The Washington Post:

The Bush administration is on the verge of implementing new air quality rules that will make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas, according to rank-and-file agency scientists and park managers who oppose the plan.

The new regulations, which are likely to be finalized this summer, rewrite a provision of the Clean Air Act that applies to "Class 1 areas," federal lands that currently have the highest level of protection under the law. Opponents predict the changes will worsen visibility at many of the nation's most prized tourist destinations, including Virginia's Shenandoah, Colorado's Mesa Verde and North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt national parks.

Nearly a year ago, with little fanfare, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed changing the way the government measures air pollution near Class 1 areas on the grounds that the nation needed a more uniform way of regulating emissions near protected areas. The agency closed the comment period in April and has indicated it is not making significant changes to the draft rule, despite objections by EPA staff members.

Wow, now that makes no sense at all. Unifying regulations by wiping them away is a hard pitch to sell. The EPA is not happy about it and neither will the millions of people that visit our national parks every year. Of course, Bush could care less about a soot-covered Half Dome or acid rain at Jackson Hole. As long as his energy industry buddies can make more money, nothing else matters.