The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 and the National Parklands

This article explores the new legislative scheme as it pertains to national parklands. After outlining the history of the PSD concept, the article considers the PSD provisions and their application to national parklands. Examination of the visibility section, which rounds out the framework for preservation of parkland air resources set up in the PSD section, completes the discussion. The analysis focuses on several potential defects in the regulatory structure of the amendments, including the failure to extend immediate protection under the PSD and visibility sections to a large number of national parkland units, the somewhat unrealistic criteria chosen to define and measure significant air quality deterioration, and a variance procedure which may allow certain polluting facilities to locate near national parklands. A special effort is made to point out and clarify the important functions which the amendments assign to the major federal land management agencies: the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service. The success of the new law ultimately depends in large part upon these agencies and those who are able to influence their actions.