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Public Papers - 1989 - July

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Nitrogen Oxides Protocol to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution


Yesterday the United States formally accepted the Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) protocol to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) by depositing its instrument of acceptance with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This protocol is fully consistent with the goals set out by the President in his proposals for the Clean Air Act.

The LRTAP Convention was adopted in 1979, under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). The ECE includes the United States, Canada, and the countries of Western and Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union. The NOx protocol was signed last November by 25 ECE nations, including the United States. The United States is the third country to formally accept the agreement. When ratified by 16 nations, the protocol will require most participating countries to freeze NOx emissions or their transboundary flows at 1987 levels by the beginning of 1995.

The protocol allows nations such as the United States, which had already begun a NOx reduction program before the negotiations began, to use a different base year if they choose. The United States indicated at the time of signing that it would use 1978 as its base year. NOx emissions in the United States were 21.1 million metric tons (mmt) in 1978.

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