DENVER -– During a rare Environmental Protection Agency hearing Wednesday, supporters of better air quality gathered to express their concerns with the National Park Service.
“The air isn't as clean in our national parks and our wilderness areas,” said Jen Clanahan, a member of Colorado Moms Know Best. “I thought I could take my daughter to the national parks to escape the haze in Denver, but that's not the case."
Clanahan joined others at an EPA field hearing to discuss the possibility of new regulations to decrease the likelihood of haze in national parks. In April, the Obama administration expressed interest in changing current laws.
“Air pollution knows no boundaries,” said Ulla Reeves with the National Park Conservation Association.
Reeves would like to see more states held accountable, adding the pollution and haze in national parks are robbing visitors of scenic views.
“On average, visitors are missing out on over 50 miles of views,” Greeves said.
While the EPA debates new guidelines, businesses are saying hold on. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association said activists are using them as “stalk horses” and Tri State Electric argues that any more change will result in higher costs for consumers.
“It goes directly into the cost of electricity from our consumers,” said Lyle Witham, an official with Tri State.
Environmental supporters argue that a growing Colorado population, congested highways, park tourists and the energy industry are contributing to the problem.