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Clean Power Plan Likely to Improve Everglades Air Quality

Emissions from power plants continue to contribute to hazy skies and the effects of climate change. Being a sea level wetland, the Everglades stands to enjoy the most immediate benefits of the president's new Clean Power Plan. Credit: David Parsons/iStockphoto.com
Emissions from power plants continue to contribute to hazy skies and the effects of climate change. Being a sea level wetland, the Everglades stands to enjoy the most immediate benefits of the president's new Clean Power Plan. Credit: David Parsons/iStockphoto.com
August 4, 2015

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. – Environmentalists say Florida's national parks will enjoy considerable benefits from President Obama's new Clean Power Plan, which mandates significantly lower emissions at all coal-fired power plants.

The air quality in Everglades National Park ranked the third worst of any national park, and received a "D" for haziness and an "F" for climate-change impacts in a recent report from the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).

Phil Compton, senior organizing representative for the Sierra Club Florida, says the low-lying geography of the Everglades makes it especially vulnerable to rising sea levels linked to climate change.

"The Everglades is the most immediately threatened land mass of the United States," he says. "Soon after Miami and Fort Lauderdale are underwater, it's projected the entire Everglades will be underwater."

Compton says one way to combat climate change is to fully fund restoration efforts in the Everglades. Fresh water that flows through the area deposits silt, which raises the level of the land and staves off rising seas.

Ulla Reeves, clean air campaign manager with the NPCA, says the president should go a step further and revamp the Regional Haze Rule of the Clean Air Act to force additional action.

"There are many sources of pollution that are affecting park air quality in a negative way that are not currently being held accountable, specifically under the regional haze rule," says Reeves.

Florida has 11 coal-fired power plants and close to 20 million vehicles that emit greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - FL