NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — There won’t be any major changes to the EPA’s visibility protection program according to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.
In 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a major effort to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas.
The plan is a requirement from the federal government: every 10 years, the state is required to update a plan to address regional haze, with a goal of eliminating it by 2064.
According to researchers from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, the majority of visibility-impacting haze comes from out of state.
One of the main causes of haze in the state is wildfires from other states.
Between now and 2028, the DEQ is expecting a reduction in emissions of about 20%, working out to a reduction of more than 40,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide.
Overall North Dakota has better air quality than most states. There are several factors that play into this.
“We are blessed with a low population,” said David Stroh, an environmental engineer. “We have significant wind in North Dakota and we have a pretty flat geography. When you look at other states impacted by bad air quality it’s usually bit population centers or its in locations that maybe have low wind.”