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Transboundary Relations and Acid Rain: New York's Memoranda of Understanding with Quebec and Ontario

Nancy Paige Smith


The role of subnational jurisdictions such as states in the United States and provinces in Canada in foreign policy-making has grown in recent years. A number of political scientists are analyzing subnational governments and their diplomatic activities (often referred to as paradiplomacy), the underlying causes and the effect such subnational transnational activities might have on the politics between the respective national governments (Duchacek 1986a, Soldatos 1986).

This article will explore the subnational policy-making objectives of New York State with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario with regard to acid rain. The focus will be an examination and comparison of the various Memoranda of Understanding signed by these parties bilaterally since 1982 (i.e., Quebec and New York and Ontario and New York).

After a brief review of some of the conceptual work done by two political scientists in the area of transnational subnational politics, an overview of the politics of acid rain will be presented. An analysis of the acid rain agreements and current developments will follow. The article will conclude with a discussion of how these subnational activities between New York and Quebec and New York and Ontario shed light on the theoretical work and what questions might be pursued in the future.

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