by BDN staff writer Bill Trotter
Bangor Daily News news story
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A group of environmental advocates met Tuesday at the summit of Cadillac Mountain to draw attention to what they say are needed improvements to the federal Clean Air Act, according to a statement released Tuesday.
Representatives of the Natural Resources Council of Maine and local organizations indicated in the statement that two proposed changes to the federal act should be allowed to move forward in order to help protect air quality in Acadia and the Northeast region.
The changes to the act — the Clean Power Plan, which reduces carbon pollution to combat climate change, and proposed amendments to the Regional Haze Rule, which will require that clean air is protected at older national parks such as Acadia — are up for consideration by federal officials, according to NRCM.
Owners of power plants are challenging the Clean Power Plan in federal court, while proposed changes to the Regional Haze Rule are officially open for public comment through July 5. The deadline for submitting comments to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency on the Regional Haze Rule might be extended, the group indicated. The EPA is expected to review the public comments and issue a final version later this year.
“A clean environment, healthy air and beautiful views attract people to visit Maine and to live here,” Dylan Voorhees, climate and clean energy director for NRCM, said in the statement. “The natural beauty of Acadia National Park reminds us how important it is to protect these places we love with strong climate and air quality rules.”
Friends of Acadia and Mount Desert Island Hospital echoed Voorhees’ comments in the statement, also calling for the changes to the Clean Air Act to be allowed to move ahead.
“It is our obligation, and in our own best interest, to protect Acadia’s air and climate, and these two rules are some of the best tools available to do that,” added Stephanie Clement, conservation director for Friends of Acadia.
Acadia National Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, gets approximately 2.5 million visits each year, making it one of the most popular national parks in the country. Overall, Maine’s tourism industry creates about 100,000 jobs and generates about $5.6 billion in economic activity each year, NRCM added.