EPA Settles Case Over Haze in National Parks

Visitors to U.S. national parks and other wild areas should be able to breathe a little easier in the future, thanks to a legal settlement signed yesterday by the U.S. EPA and Environmental Defense. Under the terms of the settlement, the agency has until April 2005 to cut haze in 156 national parks and wilderness areas, including Acadia, Big Bend, Glacier, Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, Sequoia, and Yosemite. Last December, Environmental Defense sued the EPA for failing to enforce amendments to the federal Clean Air Act that prohibit industrial facilities from creating “regional haze” affecting parks and wilderness areas. The settlement will increase enforcement of clean air regulations at hundreds of facilities ranging from copper smelters to power plants.