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Across Borders: International Influences on Domestic Agenda Building

Leslie R. Alm


Acid rain occurs when sulfur and nitrogen oxides emitted by such sources as coal-fired power plants and automobiles are transported hundreds of miles in the atmosphere and returned to earth as acid compounds. This acid deposition has been linked to serious environmental damage as well as possible adverse health effects (NAPAP Assessment Plan 1989). Because of its complete disrespect for borders, acid rain continues to be one of the primary transboundary issues in United States-Canada relations and offers a unique opportunity to study environmental policy as it develops across international borders.

The purpose of this article is to examine a neglected aspect of the process of agenda building with respect to United States acid rain policy: international influences. The hypothesis is that Canada has had a unique and substantial influence on the U.S. domestic policy of acid rain. This study evaluates Canadian efforts to influence the president, the Congress, the states, and the U.S. public. Findings are based on a review of United States-Canadian agreements, testimony before Congress, and an analysis of government documents and reports.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229