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MEDIA RELEASE

For Release: February 2, 1996

THE INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION RELEASES REPORT ON CANADA-UNITED STATES AIR QUALITY AGREEMENT

The International Joint Commission today released its report to the Governments of Canada and the United States on public comments received on the 1991 Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement and its implementation.

Public comment suggests that the Agreement, is a broad enough framework to address all transboundary air pollution issues. Many expressed disappointment at the Governments' seeming reluctance to use the Agreement to address key transboundary air quality issues other than sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are acid rain precursors.

While recognizing that improvements have been made to reduce acid rain precursors and put legislative arrangements in place in both countries, the majority of the respondents urged that the scope of air quality issues addressed under the Agreement should be expanded to include regional smog and ground- level (tropospheric) ozone, toxic air contaminants, inhalable particulate matter and acid aerosols. Human health impacts of these air pollutants were cited as the justification of the need to expand the Agreement. Strong support was also expressed for harmonization of air quality standards across the international boundary.

The 1991 Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement contains specific commitments for emissions reductions relating to acid rain precursors and research as well as a commitment to review the Agreement in its fifth year. The Governments of Canada and the United States, asked the Commission to assist in the fifth year review by inviting public input on the Agreement and its implementation. The Commission held public hearings in Ottawa, Ontario and Washington, D.C. and also encouraged written submissions. The report contains a summary of the comments received.

The International Joint Commission is an independent international organization established under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Its purpose is to help prevent and resolve disputes and to advise the United States and Canada on questions of mutual concern along the boundary. Three members of the Commission are appointed by the President of the United States and three by the Governor-in-Council in Canada.

For additional information, or copies of the report, contact:

Ottawa: Washington:
Fabien Lengellé Frank Bevacqua
Telephone: (613) 995-2984 Telephone: (202) 736-9024
Fax: (613) 993-5583 Fax: (202) 736-9015
Email: http://www.ijc.org/en/contacts/contacts.htm Email: bevacquaf@washington.ijc.org

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