Polluting facilities like coal-fired power plants could soon be allowed to operate closer to national parks, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post. Rules being finalized by the EPA—against strong objections from several officials—will weaken Clean Air Act protections by averaging out emission counts over a year, meaning pollution spikes at peak times will soon be legal.
EPA regional administrators close to parks already plagued by poor visibility have lodged protests, but the rules may be changed as early as the week. The Bush administration is aiming to "sacrifice our national parks" in its commitment to coal, charged the director of clean-air programs for the National Parks Conservation Association. He plans to file a petition to make it easier for the Obama administration to reverse the change.