National Parks and Wilderness Preserves are Mandatory EPA Class I Areas

National parks and wilderness preserves are rarely, if ever, exempted from EPA Mandatory Class I Air Quality Standards.

The protective caveats in the draft proposal crafted by the local panel exist because two of its five members stood fast on the principle of keeping the Colorado Monument as it is. The proposal, in the words of Senator Udall, was “unprecedented.” But acceptance of the proposal by interests in the Grand Valley was contingent on those unprecedented conditions, which are:

  • No buffer zones
  • Governance by a local Advisory Board
  • Class II Airshed Standards

They are unprecedented because ALL OTHER COLORADO NATIONAL PARKS have been created with those conditions. Most national parks west of the Mississippi have Class I designation, with the exception of Death Valley NP which is remote and far removed from any human settlements. 57 of 60 NATIONAL PARKS have:

  • Buffer zones for present and future expansion and protection
  • Federal governance
  • Class I Airshed Standards

A great deal of backlash has resulted from those unprecedented conditions. If a national park bill is actually introduced, those conditions will be stripped because of intense lobbying by NGOs such as the National Parks Conservation Association, Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, Conservation Colorado and others.

The existence of a national park in Western Colorado means that Colorado energy interests and other developers will have to wage an ongoing war with the National Park Service, BLM, EPA and other agencies.  Self-appointed environmental watchdog groups, which focus like a laser on national parks, will set up in local storefronts and prepare to file injunctions and lawsuits at the drop of a hat. Local economies will be impacted and existing operations will be threatened. The answer to this future nightmare?

Just say NO to a new national park.

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