Law & Policy
The National Park Service (NPS) has a responsibility to protect air quality and resources that might be adversely affected by air pollution under the NPS Organic Act, the Wilderness Act, and the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Organic Act directs the NPS to conserve the resources and values of parks in a way that will leave them "unimpaired" for the enjoyment of future generations. The Wilderness Act contains a similar mandate. One of the purposes of the CAA is "to preserve, protect, and enhance the air quality in national parks" and other areas of special national or regional natural, recreational, scenic or historic value. The CAA provides some tools and many opportunities to protect park resources. For example, the NPS and other federal land managers have a special role in decisions related to permitting of new air pollution sources near parks and other pollution control programs needed to prevent significant air quality deterioration and protect visibility. The NPS also participates in numerous stakeholder forums to review, debate and develop new air quality policy. Together, these laws and regulations, as well as partnership activities provide the basis for the NPS's general policy of promoting and pursuing measures to safeguard park resources and values from the adverse effects of air pollution.