Statement on Acid Rain

March 18, 1987

I am pleased to announce today several steps being taken to ensure that the United States continues to work closely with the Canadian Government in determining and addressing the environmental effects of acid rain. These actions resulted from a review of this issue I directed my Domestic Policy Council to undertake, and are consistent with the recommendations made by the joint envoys on acid rain, Drew Lewis, of the United States, and William Davis, of Canada. Prime Minister Mulroney and I endorsed their recommendations in March 1986. This past year government-to-government coordination and research cooperation with Canada on acid rain problems have been substantially strengthened, as recommended by the envoys. The administration also has implemented the initial phase of the Department of Energy Clean Coal Technology Program and has completed an inventory of Federal, State, and private clean coal research and demonstration projects, which are expected to expend more than $6 billion by 1992.

To maintain the progress we are making, I am directing three major steps to continue to carry out the envoys' proposals.

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The first will be to seek the full amount of the Government's share of funding recommended by the joint envoys -- $2.5 billion -- for demonstration of innovative control technology over a 5-year period. Five hundred million dollars will be requested for fiscal years 1988 and 1989 to fund innovative emissions control projects. I will also encourage industry to invest an equal or greater amount over this period and to stimulate development and deployment of innovative technologies for reduction of air pollution emissions. This builds on activities already underway in the Department of Energy Clean Coal Technology Program.

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The second step I am taking is to direct the Secretary of Energy to establish an advisory panel. This panel, which will include participation by State governments and by the Government of Canada, will advise the Secretary of Energy on funding and selection of innovative control technologies projects. Projects will be selected, as fully as practicable, using the criteria recommended by the joint envoys.

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Third, I am asking the Vice President to have the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief, which he chairs, review Federal and State economic and regulatory programs to identify opportunities for addressing environmental concerns under existing laws. The task force will examine incentives and disincentives to the deployment of new emissions control technologies and other cost-effective, innovative emission reduction measures now inhibited by various Federal, State, and local regulations. The findings and results of the task force review will be reported in 6 months along with any recommendations for changes to existing regulations.

I have advised Prime Minister Mulroney of these decisions. Next month I will travel to Canada to discuss these and other issues with the Prime Minister. I feel these steps will help both countries to better understand and address this shared environmental problem, so that future specific actions that are taken will be cost-effective and represent appropriate taxpayer expenditures.