The EPA today released a plan to address pollution that is affecting air quality at national wilderness areas and other federal lands in Arkansas and Missouri. The rule protects the Buffalo National River, Ouachita National Forest and Caney Creek Wilderness. Under a Clean Air Act protection called the Regional Haze Rule, states are required to develop plans to clean up pollution and improve air quality at national parks and wilderness areas. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality put forward a limited plan in 2008 that did not fully meet EPA requirements. The EPA’s proposal today fully addresses these requirements and ensures that emissions from some of our state’s largest smokestacks are reduced.Here's the EPA plan with dates on hearings.
Today’s action by the EPA puts in place common-sense safeguards on some of the state’s largest and dirtiest smokestacks and sets flexible 5-year schedules to reduce emissions.
“Arkansas families regularly visit the Buffalo River — the country’s first national river — and other wild places in our state for hiking, camping, fishing and other recreation,” said Glen Hooks, director of the Sierra Club’s Arkansas chapter. “And, just as importantly, many small towns in Arkansas depend on the out-of-state tourism these natural attractions bring to our communities.”
“The facilities affected by this rule have some decisions to make: They can continue operating old, outdated plants or transition to cleaner forms of power,” continued Hooks. “The Sierra Club believes that clean air is achievable without major investments in an aging power fleet. It’s time for Arkansas to get in the game and move to renewable, homegrown energy solutions — as many neighboring states already have. And we look forward to working with stakeholders to find the lowest-cost plan to protect our communities, environment, and economy here in the Natural State.”