Protecting Parks and Wilderness From Nearby Air Pollution Sources

T-RCED-90-43: Published: Mar 9, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 1990.

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GAO discussed federal and state efforts to maintain clean air in national parks and wilderness areas, focusing on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. GAO noted that: (1) EPA regulated only 1 percent of stationary air pollution sources under the PSD program, while the remaining 99 percent were exempt from program permit requirements, either because they were grandfathered, or qualified as minor sources; (2) federal land managers did not fully implement their permit application responsibilities; (3) states had not designated additional protected parks and wilderness areas, contending that the areas were already adequately protected and that additional protection would be too costly and would negatively effect economic development in surrounding areas; and (4) land managers lacked funds to obtain sufficient information about air pollution effects and protection.

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