Finally, President Bush has quietly junked a long-standing Reagan administration policy of stonewalling Canadian complaints on acid rain. It was nearly overlooked in the rush of news about the aftermath of the Persian Gulf war, but on March 13 Mr. Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney signed a new agreement to fight cross-border pollution.
Canada has complained repeatedly that acid rain, most of it from the United States, was jeopardizing aquatic life in as many as 14,000 lakes. Environmentalists in New York state and New England, for their part, have long argued that Canadian industry, while smaller in scope than in the U.S., causes serious acid-rain problems there. A quarter of the acid precipitation falling on the Adirondack Mountains is said to come from Canada. President Reagan, meanwhile, stood on the shaky ground occupied by those who wanted more study and no action.
Mr. Bush and Mr. Mulroney's new agreement, signed after the 1990 revisions of the Clean Air Act, finally commits both governments to some action. Described as implementing the Clean Air Act standards, and thus not requiring Senate ratification, the new agreement's major provisions: