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Report: Coming 'Unnatural Disasters' Endanger NM Parks

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July 16, 2007

America's National Parks are being threatened by an "Unnatural Disaster" according to a new report from the National Parks Conservation Association that looks at the affects of global warming. The report highlights the increased danger from wildfires to parks across the West. David Nimkin with the NPCA says many of New Mexico's treasures also have other problems with the region's big carbon polluters.

"The high number of coal-fired power plants creates acid rain, and the effects of acid rain on the fragile cultural sites, whether it be Chaco or Bandelier."

Nimkin's group is calling on Congress and the White House to put the brakes on plans to build more coal plants in the Southwest and nationwide.

He emphasizes the law requires the government to protect our National Parks from threats like climate change. And he believes the parks can play an informational role about such problems.

"They can be areas for research, which is part of the mandate, but they also can help educate the quarter of a billion people who visit the parks every year."

The National Parks system will celebrate its centennial in2016 and conservation groups are challenging legislators to fully fund all the system's needs by then. The report is available at www.ncpa.org/globalwarming.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM