Environmentalists Hail U.S.-Canada Pact Reducing Ozone Smog

Agreement Will Reduce Ozone Pollution Across Eastern North America

WASHINGTON (October 13, 2000) - The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Clean Air Task Force today applauded yesterday's tentative agreement between U.S. and Canadian delegations on reducing ozone pollution across the eastern half of North America. Both NRDC and the Clean Air Task Force participated in the negotiations that led to the agreement.

"The tentative agreement is an official recognition that there are significant remaining air quality problems affecting public health and the environment in eastern North America," said David Hawkins, director of NRDC's Air and Energy Program. "We are pleased to see new commitments for control of nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants, and greater public access to emission data."

The tentative agreement recognizes the transboundary impact of ozone smog pollution sources within roughly 500 kilometers (310 miles) of the boundary between the eastern half of both countries. Specifically, the agreement will require power plants and other stationary sources to cut their nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 50 percent to 75 percent. The two delegations will submit the tentative agreement to their respective governments for final review. Official approval of the agreement is expected to occur at a signing ceremony in Ottawa, Canada, in early December.

"While more needs to be done on transboundary flows of ozone and fine particulates, this is an important step to control smog and continues historic cooperation between Canada and the United States to lungs and lakes from pollution," said David Wooley, counsel for CATF. "We hope these talks will be followed by new negotiations to reduce power plant acid rain emissions in both countries."