Canada and U.S. launch air quality pilot projects under the border air quality strategy

June 24, 2003 — Canada and the U.S. will increase their cooperation to reduce cross-border air pollution by undertaking three major pilot projects that enable greater opportunities for coordinated air quality management between both countries.

The announcement was made jointly recently by the Honourable David Anderson, Canada’s Environment Minister and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman.

“I am pleased we have been able to move forward so quickly on the development of joint projects in airsheds of mutual concern,” said Minister Anderson. “This work is of great importance, since air pollution does not respect international boundaries. We need this kind of cooperative effort so that residents in our border regions can benefit from cleaner air,” he said.

“These pilot projects will serve as a foundation for improving air quality and addressing transboundary air pollution of concern to our two countries,” said Administrator Whitman. “I am pleased that we are able to announce progress in this important effort, which shows that protecting the public health of our border communities while promoting economic growth is certainly possible.”

Three pilot projects will be launched:

* In southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington State, the Georgia Basin/Puget Sound International Airshed Strategy will identify measures to reduce air emissions and address transboundary pollution;

* For southeastern Michigan and southwestern Ontario, the Great Lakes Basin Airshed Management Framework will explore the development of a coordinated airshed management approach;

* A joint study will explore the feasibility of emissions trading for NOx (nitrogen oxides) and SO2 (sulphur dioxide). NOx and SO2 emissions are key contributors in smog, fine particle, and acid rain problems in the transboundary region.

The joint projects will be completed in cooperation with provincial, state and other stakeholders. Identification of the pilot projects fulfills a pledge made by the two countries in January 2003, under the Border Air Quality Strategy. The Strategy is designed to build on the success of the 1991 Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement, which established a framework for collaboration on science and emission reductions in both countries.

Background information on the Canada-United States Border Air Quality Strategy is available at: http://www.epa.gov/airmarkt/usca/index.html or http://www.ec.gc.ca/canada_us/air/index_e.htm.


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