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Lay of the Land

Poland's Eco-Farms | Factory Farms | Snowmobile Ban | For the Record | Clean Car Bill | Protect California Wilderness | Take a Friend to the Polls | Bold Strokes | All Species Foundation | Updates

Holding Our Breath

By Reed McManus

While waiting for the National Park Service to decide whether to uphold a ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, last winter park rangers (like the one pictured on the left) began wearing respirators to protect their lungs from benzene and other pollutants in snowmobile exhaust. The prohibition was supposed to be phased in this year, but there’s no indication rangers will be giving up the masks soon. The product of a five-year Park Service assessment of snowmobile impacts that included four rounds of scientific and public comment, the ban won overwhelming support. Then snowmobile manufacturers convinced a receptive Bush administration that the process should be reopened for a fifth round of comment, which has delayed a final rule until this fall at the earliest.

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