Much of the air quality improvement in the Smokies is due to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s decision to retire several of its aging, dirty coal plants. Currently, TVA generates about 40% of its electricity from coal plants, but a significant amount of that capacity is due to be retired between now and 2020. Ultimately, TVA is aiming to reduce its overall coal capacity to around 20%, which will mean even more benefits for the Smoky Mountains and its visitors.
The Regional Haze Rule is the controlling regulation for air quality in our national parks and is aimed at completely removing human-caused air pollution in these areas by 2064. Along with the 48 national parks, the Regional Haze Rule also protects 108 wilderness areas managed by the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Once a decade, states must revise their plans to lower air pollution in these areas, but many states continue to take advantage of loopholes within the rule. Because the rule isn’t clear on what pollution reduction options states need to consider, or how they need to be weighed, some states can claim that reducing pollution is nearly impossible while ignoring available, commonsense pollution reduction opportunities.
To learn more about air quality in our national parks and how you can help strengthen the Regional Haze Rule, read the full NPCA report here.
Local governments from across the Southeast came together to share solutions and resources that will help electrify transportation in their communities. Their dedication and collaboration are an example of the Clean Energy…