• Short Summary


    Some scientists say acid rain is the global environmental scourge of the 1980s.

  • Description

    1. GV: Coal plant and auto traffic (5 shots) 0.15
    2. GV: Rain on Lake Ontario 0.25
    3. SCU: Frozen lake (2 shots) 0.30
    4. GV & SV: Forest with rain pollution device (2 shots) 0.37
    5. SV & CU: Truck laboratory (3 shots) 0.47
    6. GV: Frozen lake with four pictures on divided screen, snow melting, streaming into lake (7 shots) 1.09
    7. GV: Map of USA and Canada. 1.12
    8. SCU: Allan Gotlieb, Canadian Ambassador to the United States speaks (SOT). 1.18
    9. GV: Map of USA and Canada showing sulphur dioxide emissions, fades into acid rain sensitivity. 1.29
    10. SV: Dorset research station (3 shots) 1.37
    11. SV: Research station laboratories (2 shots) 1.42
    12. SV: Dr. Peter Dillon of the Dorset research station speaks (SOT). 1.50
    13. GV: Smoke stacks (2 shots) 1.58
    14. ARIALS: Lakes, smoke stacks, underwater shots (4 shots) 2.08
    15. ARIALS: Smoke stacks (2 shots) 2.16
    16. GV EXTERIOR: Capitol Hill (3 shots) 2.26
    17. SCU: Kathleen Bennett, Environmental Protection Agency speaks (SOT). 2.36
    18. GV: President Reagan with Mr. Pierre Trudeau. 2.42
    19. GV & CU: Demonstrators in Ottawa (3 shots) 2.51
    20. CU: Memorandum between USA and Canada on pollution (2 shots) 3.05
    21. SCU: Daniel Moyniham, Democrat, New York, speaks (SOT) (2 shots) 3.20
    22. GV: Rain on Lake Ontario (3 shots) 3.26
    23. SCU: Sen. Robert Stafford, Chairman Sen. Environ. Committee speaks (SOT) 3.45
    24. ARIAL & GV: Lakes and smoke stacks (2 shots) 4.03
    25. INTERIOR CU: Nancy Maloley U.S. Environmental Council speaking (SOT). (3 shots) 4.17
    26. SCU & LV: EXTERIOR Lincoln Memorial, Washington (2 shots) 4.24
    27. SV & SCU: Stalactites of corrosion inside memorial (3 shots) 4.31
    28. INTERIOR SV: Senator George Mitchell, Democrat, Maine speaking (SOT). 4.48
    "I don't think there is any issue of greater concern to Canadiansacid rain."
    DILLION: "Like , some niety percent of the total acid, including sulphur,that fall in here come from the south and south -west."
    BENNETT: "We need to identify whatever the acid deposition problem is,and then, from all of that ,we would be able to tell what,if any, further regulatory measures might be required."
    MOYNIHAN: "The Canadian people are of the view that the United States is pouring poison into their lakes,and does not give a damn."
    STAFFORD: "I think it's essential that we begin to move now. If we delay longer, we not only exacerbate relations between Canada and the United States, but we may find that we have done irreversible damage to the eastern part of our country."
    HALOLEY: "THe environmental damage may there. The question is: does it come from Midwest power plants? and the answer is :we don't know. And neither do many reputable scientist."
    MITCHELL: "Every major environmental control legislation ever proposed has been met with the same argument: 'We don't know enough: we've got to study it more. 'I say, Mr.Chairman, as the National Academy of Science has said,the evidence is overwhelming.We must act now."

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved


    Some scientists say acid rain is the global environmental scourge of the 1980s. Already, it has devastated waterways, forests, croplands and buildings throughout the north-eastern United States and southern Canada. It is also befouling diplomatic relations between Washington and Ottawa. The Canadians, who say some of their resources are being polluted by acid rain blowing northwards from the United States, want immediate action. They are prepared to allocate many millions of dollars. But the Reagan Administration, whose record on ecology has drawn massive domestic criticism, advocates further study, possibly lasting five years before allocating substantial funds to combat acid rain. The U.S. Senate Environment Committee has approved an amendment to the Clean Air Bill. The amendment, due to go before the Republican Controlled Senate next week February 13-17), in part proposes cutting back coal-burning emissions in the American Midwest by up to ten million tonnes a year. Senate sources believe however, the amendment, which the Canadians back, has little chance of being passed into law, and unchecked acid rain will cause more billions of dollars damage in both countries.

    SYNOPSIS: Most experts believe that acid rain comes from man-made pollutants. These include emissions from electrical generating plants, industrial boilers, smelting plants, and from motor vehicles. Tall smokestacks belch high into the air sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, as well as acidic soots and traces of toxic metals. These molecules interact in sunlight with vapour to form dilute solutions of nitric and sulphuric acids -- or acid rain. This menace also takes the form of dry particles, fog or snow. Prevailing winds can carry the acid rain hundreds of miles before it comes down days later in what scientists call "depositions". Because scientists still don't know how acid rain forms in the atmosphere, they can't work out its exact contribution to environmental damage. But acid rain is a devastating form of pollution. It can damage lakes, rivers, forests, croplands and buildings. Scientists contend acid rain threatens human health, mainly by contaminating drinking water. Two badly-affected areas are north-eastern America and south-eastern Canada. Most of the sulphur dioxide linked with Canadian acid rain is generated by public utilities in the eastern United States, and the areas that suffer most are mainly Canada. Scientists at Dorset Research Station in Ontario have been studying acid rain since 1975. They make some two thousand tests a week, all giving the same answer: acid rain falling here could come from America's Industrial Ohio Valley. Canadian officials claim that about half of the 12 million tonnes of acid absorbed in eastern Canada each year comes from south of the border. They say more than five thousand of their lakes have already been badly affected, and almost fifty thousand lakes, plus rivers, could be killed off by the end of the century.

    On the other hand, Ottawa concedes Canadian emissions, estimated at just under five million tonnes a year, contribute to between ten and twenty-five per cent of the United State's acid rain problems. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's government has been lobbying vigorously in Washington to persuade Congress that U.S. emissions are largely responsible for potential devastation of Canadian forests and waterways by acid rain. Reagan administration officials are skeptical. These employees are projecting the reported antipathy towards the problem of their boss, President Reagan. Yet, in Ottawa two years ago, he found out at first hand how indignant Canadians are towards the impact of acid rain on their environment. His critics say the President, prompted by big business interests, is choosing to ignore a Clean Air Agreement that Canada and the United States signed in 1980. This perceived indifference has its critics in Congress: Opposition to the Reagan stance is growing because of evidence, such as dead fish in a New York State lake. The Senate Environment Committee has approved a strong, new Clean Air Bill. Like the Canadians, committee chairman Robert Stafford wants action. If passed by Congress, the Bill would force coal-burning, plants, especially those in the midwest, using high-sulphur coal, to reduce emissions by eight to ten million tonnes a year. But administration officials maintain there's no evidence these emissions are causing acid rain in either country. Experts say acid rain ironically, is rotting one of Washington's most beloved monuments: the statue of that great Republican, Abraham Lincoln. Acid rain erodes calcium from the marble and eats through it. Senator George Mitchell lashes the Administration's caution.


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