We here at Grist have long since lost track of the score in the face-off between the snowmobile industry and people who like to be able to breathe in national parks, but at any rate, the latter earned a point yesterday when the U.S. EPA issued a report calling for a complete ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Reiterating its position of three years ago, the agency said an outright ban would be the “best available protection” for air quality, wildlife, and the health of park workers and visitors. The National Park Service is again deciding whether to bar snowmobiles from the two parks, as proposed under the Clinton administration but challenged in court by the International Snowmobile Manufactures Association. Without the ban, up to 1,000 snowmobilers enter the park on winter weekends, creating a blue haze and provoking sore throats, burning eyes, and lethargy in park workers. This winter, workers at Yellowstone’s West Gate entrance wore respirators because the air problems were so severe.

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