Quebec Studies

Acid Rain Policy in Quebec and Sweden

Quebec Studies (1989), 8, (1), 97–110.


Québec Studies, No. 8, 1989 ACID RAIN POLICY IN QUEBEC A N D SWEDEN By M. EUiot Vittes Acid deposition is an important concern to Canada and to Quebec, and has been addressed by provincial and provincial-federal actions. Even so, Que­ bec's maple sugar industry is witnessing declines in maple syrup production that apparently are tied to acid deposition. Much of this sulfur deposition falling in Quebec originates in the United States, particularly the industrial Midwest. Given the foregoing circumstances, this article will address the following: 1) the acid deposition problem in Quebec; 2) Quebec's responses through crossnational agreements with U.S. states to help diminish sulfur and nitrogen emis­ sions and force further state (and perhaps national) action on acid rain policy; and, 3) the comparative nature of policy development and implementation in another receptor region (Sweden). While many aspects of the situation are undoubtedly specific to U.S.-Canadian relations and the unique Quebec and Canadian experience, the analysis will seek structural explanations concerning the success or failure in developing, negotiating, and implementing policy. 1. The problem of acid deposition in Quebec. Acid deposition is a term that covers most predominantly the acidic deposition resulting from sulfur and nitrogen emissions. "Acid rain," denoting sulfur emissions originally, has become a more sophisticated and complex idea. This complexity has implications for the development and implementation of any "acid rain" control strategy. Quebec is geographically situated so that it both receives significant amounts of acidic precipitation and has geological conditions that make (parts of) the province vulnerable to acidification. The emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that reach Quebec are believed to originate from the following geographical sources: 25% from Quebec, 25% from Ontario, and 50% from the United States (Quebec Update). Thus, any acid precipitation control program must focus on external as well as internal air pollution sources, external to the province as well as to Canada. Lake acidification has been a major source of discussion for the duration of the "acid rain" debate, but in the last few years increasing focus has been on soil

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Author details

Vittes, M.