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Moving on Acid Rain--Finally

March 22, 1987

After nearly a year of both fudging and foot-dragging, the Reagan Administration finally has agreed to put some real money into the fight against acid rain. It was last March when the President joined Canada in a $5-billion, five-year cooperative program to control emissions of sulfur dioxide, which scientists have identified as the primary ingredient of acid rain.

The President announced last week that he would seek $2.5 billion for acid-rain control. Private industry will be called on to come up with a like amount. Coal-burning electric-power plants in the Ohio Valley have been identified as a major source of emissions that result in acid precipitation in the American Northeast and bordering sections of Canada.

Until last year the Administration insisted that more study was needed before any costly effort to control acid rain could be undertaken. The President's commitment is welcome news.

Why has this action finally been taken now? Because the President is scheduled to visit Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in Ottawa on April 5-6. This country seems to budge on the acid-rain issue only after Washington's recalcitrance has caused acute political embarrassment in Ottawa. The United States' good neighbors to the north have been remarkably patient with this country on an issue of keen importance to them. Canadians put great stock in the protection of their environment.

Everyone must work now to make certain that the new promise is followed with actual action and money.

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