EPA Critiques Yellowstone's Snowmobile Plan
None other than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has come out against sections of the draft management plan for over-snow travel in Yellowstone. In a letter critiquing the park's "preliminary" preferred alternative, the EPA has voiced concerns over whether that proposal meshes with the Park Service's own Management Policies in terms of protecting both resources and humans.
Specifically, the EPA told park officials in a nine-page letter that their preferred alternative appears to "fall short of the resource protections" mandated by the Management Policies in areas of wildlife, human health and visitor experience. Indeed, the agency took exception with the park's position that air pollution from snowmobiling and snow-coach travel would create "minor" impacts, and suggested that wording be changed to "moderate" or "major." And it suggested that the park view impacts to humans from air and sound pollution be considered at least "moderate," not "minor" as the park proposes.
The park's currently preferred alternative calls for as many as 720 snowmobiles per day, even though the park's own scientific studies have identified resource problems at levels far below that.