Our two countries share a great legacy of bountiful natural resources and scenic grandeur, as well as a long history of cooperation on transboundary environmental problems. It is critical to the future well-being of Canada and the United States that we assure the continued productivity and environmental health of these natural systems: the Great Lakes and other shared water bodies, the forests, the wildlife, and the soils and farmlands.
Thus, we announce with great satisfaction that our countries have agreed to begin negotiations for a practical and effective air quality accord. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William K. Reilly and Canadian Environment Minister Robert de Cotret will discuss this issue when they meet in mid-July in Ottawa. We expect to begin negotiations shortly thereafter.
The initial focus of these negotiations will be on reduction of sulfur dioxide and other precursors of acid rain. With clean air legislation now before a Conference Committee of the House and Senate of the U.S. Congress, the United States anticipates substantial progress in the years ahead in curbing acid rain and improving air quality. Since 1985 Canada has had in place its own control program which will reduce both acid rain damage in Canada and the export of pollution to the United States. We look forward to a close working relationship between Canada and the United States to assure that our agreement on air quality and our other bilateral programs yield tangible environmental improvements and benefits.