The Multinational Monitor


G L O B A L   N E W S W A T C H

Canada Steps Up Acid Rain Campaign

Canada has increased efforts to lobby the U.S. government to take affirmative actions against acid rain by distributing a report, researched and published by the Canadian House of Common's subcommittee on acid rain, to U.S. Senators, Congressmen, state legislators, governors and media representatives. The glossy, 150-page report discusses the costs and effectiveness of finding solutions to the acid rain problem. According to the report, "Canadians are, in general, more aware of the acid rain problem than are citizens of the U.S."; it notes that "The acid rain problem can only be solved if there is sufficient political will, in both countries, to enact and enforce legislations to curb acid rain-causing emissions."

A bill is being considered by the U.S. House subcommittee on health and environment to reduce the acid rain problem by limiting industrial emissions of sulfur dioxide in a 31-state region to present levels. To indicate the seriousness of the problem,, Senator George

Mitchell (D-ME) has cited some of the costs of acid rain in the U.S.:

  • 1,200 lakes in the Adirondack Mountains are without fish
  • Acid rain is thought, to cost $250 million annually in damage to lakes and streams east of the Mississippi River
  • Lost forest productivity in Maine as a result of acid rain could mean $1.75 billion annually in lost revenues.

However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not appear ready to take a stand. In testimony before the U.S. House subcommittee on health and environment, Kathleen Bennett, assistant administrator of the EPA, rejected calls for "quick and simple solutions." She argued that "Emission caps are among the least cost effective approaches to achieving a desired emission level" and that "The American people have the right to expect that their government will not impose an additional multibillion dollar program without first determining with some assurance that the intended environmental benefits will be achieved."

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