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Trump Issues Memo Reviewing Clean Air Standards At National Parks

Grand Canyon National Park
Maria Springs/KJZZ
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editorial | staff |
The Grand Canyon.

President Donald Trump issued a memo last week requiring a review of federal air quality standards, possibly leading to fewer smog restrictions on states and businesses.

The EPA has been monitoring visibility in national parks and wilderness areas since 1988. One standard, the Regional Haze Rule, calls for state and federal agencies to improve visibility in 156 national parks and wilderness areas, including the Grand Canyon.

The president is asking the EPA to review that rule, among others. Robert Ukeiley is with the Center for Biological Diversity. He says Trump is upset that certain coal-burning power plants have been required to reduce their pollution for the benefit of national park visitors.

“He's complaining about past measures that EPA has taken to reduce smog and soot in our national parks and wilderness areas.” Ukeiley said.  

The president told EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to quickly review state smog-reduction plans, make it easier for businesses to get air quality-related permits and to determine whether current standards should be revised or rescinded.

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Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.