Good News: Air Quality Much Improved at Our National Parks

After his first term when not a single wilderness bill passed Congress (the first time in 60 years), President Obama set aside several hundred thousand acres as national monuments.

Also in spite of Republicans in Congress, which have been working hard to weaken the Clean Air Act rather than enforce it, there’s some good news for our national parks and forests.

Over the past 20 years air quality has improved dramatically thanks to the Clean Air Act, Acid Rain cap-and-trade program and to our country’s decreasing use of coal.

EPA’s new rules that significantly cut tailpipe pollution from vehicles will help even more.

"Mountains that were once regularly obscured by haze are now clearly visible," says Jenny Hand, with the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University, which analyzed the data.

Los Angeles is a great example. Here’s how the San Gorgonio Wilderness has changed over the last decades:

 

The House voted against the environment 247 times in the last two years and one out of every five votes either rolled back protections for public lands, clean air, clean water, or enriched the oil industry.

Now, the "Sequester" is cutting those programs more.

Here’s a slide show that shows these positive changes at many of our national parks:

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