Release 96-14

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            CONTACT: Daven Oswalt
June 10, 1996                                                                                          (916) 327-6247
                                                                                                                Jerry Martin/Allan Hirsch
                                                                                                                (916) 322-2990

California Represented at Final Meeting Today
of Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission

SACRAMENTO - Representatives from eight western states met today for the final Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission (GCVTC) meeting, a coalition aimed at improving visibility and air quality at 16 of the West's most magnificent parks and wilderness areas.

        California Commissioner and Air Resources Board (ARB) Chairman, John Dunlap, attended the meeting and presented recommendations on how to combat air pollution and poor visibility on the Colorado Plateau.

        "Air Resources Board staff members and scientists have submitted several cost-effective air quality plans to the commission," Dunlap said. "California has set the strictest air pollution control standards in the nation, a role we see as a key benefit to improving visibility and public health."

        Today's meeting was held at Grand Canyon National Park and transmits the commission s recommendations for issuance of visibility regulations by January 1998 to the U.S. EPA.

       Recommendations to reduce air pollution given to the GCVTC today include promoting pollution-prevention through conservation, incentives and emission fees; supporting national, regional and local low emission vehicle standards; reducing stationary source sulfur dioxide emissions by over half by 2040; and reducing managed fire emissions through smoke management and using alternatives to burning.

        "The air quality problems we have in California are repeated throughout the west," Dunlap said. "With the nation's most advanced air pollution control technology, other regions can benefit from California's years of experience dealing with air quality."

        Also discussed at the GCVTC meeting is the impact Mexican pollution sources have on the Plateau which contribute to regional haze. International action is needed to address these issues.

        California's air quality has steadily improved since the 1960s with the use of strict air pollution control programs. California's State Implementation Plan commitments will cause significant reduction of the state's impact at Grand Canyon and other federally protected areas on the Colorado Plateau.

        The areas encompassed by the GCVTC include Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, and Mesa Verde national parks; and Sycamore Canyon, Mount Baldy, San Pedro Peaks, Weminuche, West Elk, Maroon Bells, Flattops, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison national wilderness areas.

        "We are pleased to take part in a program designed to preserve some of our nation's most valuable natural resources," Dunlap said.

        During the commission's public hearings earlier this spring, comments were also taken on the concerns of tribal nations, additional monitoring and the future role of the commission.

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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