Cold, haze provide dramatic look at air challenges

Published: Friday, Jan. 4 2013 8:40 p.m. MST

Multiple groups that include the National Parks Conservation Association urged the EPA to reject the haze plan and will likely weigh in during the comment period.

David Nimkin, the association's senior southwest regional director, said despite any pollution controls that may have been achieved over the last decade, the plan falls short because it is truly not a "regional" plan.

"Our understanding of this (plan) is that it was dependent on nine states participating and there are three," Nimkin said. "Our belief is that it is not sufficient in scope among those three states given that regional haze transcends those standards...If you believe in the intrinsic value of these parks, they need to be protected."

Utah joins New Mexico and Wyoming in the effort, but others states such as Arizona and Oregon have since left the program and are implementing their own standards.

McNeill said he believes that overall, visibility has improved around the parks because emissions have been reduced in power plants from what they were a decade ago. He concedes that new technology coming on may make requirements tougher for nitrous oxide someday, but he said those pollutants don't contribute to haze.

 What is harder to control, he said, is wildfire pollution.

"We can clean up the air on those cleanest days, but the problem is the biggest source of haze in the parks is forest fires."


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