Deadline Monday: Tell the EPA to Portect Badlands National Park from Coal Pollution
Scenic Badlands National Park in southwest South Dakota is visited by nearly a million people each year,1 but the park's beautiful views are increasingly threatened by air pollution from dirty coal plants and industrial facilities.
The Clean Air Act requires the State of South Dakota and the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce this pollution and clear the air. But the proposed plan for doing so falls short of what is necessary, refusing to require the most effective pollution reduction technology to be used at the dirty Big Stone coal plant.
Until Monday, the EPA is accepting public comments on its regional haze plan for South Dakota — and it needs to know that South Dakotans value their beautiful national parks and expect the agency to do more to clear the air at Badlands National Park and throughout the state.
Please submit your comment by 3PM on Monday so I can make sure the EPA gets it before Monday's deadline.
Visibility at Badlands National Park is generally 151 miles, but on the days with the worst haze pollution it can be as little as 48. Several other nearby national parks are also under a haze of dirty coal pollution, including Theodore Roosevelt, Voyageurs, Wind Cave, and Isle Royale national parks.
Unfortunately, it is more than just darkened skies and obstructed views we're concerned about.
Soot and haze pollution from coal plants also causes significant damage to our health — including breathing problems, throat irritation and even premature death.2
The Big Stone coal plant isn't the only huge pollution source that gets off easy in the plan EPA is considering. The GCC Dacotah cement plant — the second larger polluter after the Big Stone plant — wouldn't be required to reduce its air pollution at all.
The proposed plan would effectively let the Big Stone coal plant and other major polluters off the hook, rather than holding them accountable for their dirty and dangerous air pollution. We can't allow that to happen — and a strong outpouring of public comments from South Dakotans will make it more likely that the EPA strengthens the plan before it is finalized.
Click below to submit a public comment to the EPA:
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
1. NPS 5 Year Annual Visits Report, National Park Service
2. Health Effects of Ozone in the General Population, Environmental Protection Agency
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