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WASHINGTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA SIGN SWEEPING ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVE

WASHINGTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA SIGN SWEEPING ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVE
 OLYMPIA, Wash., May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington Governor Booth Gardner and British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt today signed a regional environmental cooperation agreement designed to identify and resolve common air pollution, water quality and waste issues, the Governor's Office announced today.
 The sweeping British Columbia/Washington Environmental Initiative confirms the intention of both governments to work together to identify and remedy pollution, flooding and waste disposal problems in the Puget Sound and Georgia Basin.
 Under terms of the agreement, the two jurisdictions will form task forces to ensure coordinated action and information-sharing on environmental matters of mutual concern. Annual progress reports are required.
 "Puget Sound and the Georgia Basin are ecologically intertwined, so it makes sense to join forces to tackle environmental problems affecting our rapidly growing region," Gardner said. "Pollution respects neither physical nor political boundaries, and this agreement recognizes that."
 "We have a common interest in protecting our quality of life in one of the fastest growing regions in North America," Harcourt added. "We want to plan this together, as neighbors and friends, and this is an important step forward."
 The initiative calls for establishment of a supervisory committee composed of the director of the Washington State Department of Ecology and the deputy minister of B.C. Environment, Lands and Parks. Observers will include the regional directors of Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The committee will establish subcommittees and task forces to deal with specific issues.
 The initiative establishes high priority, emerging and ongoing issues on which representatives will work. Rated as high priority issues are water pollution in the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin; water quality in the Columbia River and Lake Roosevelt; Nooksack River flooding; and regional air quality, including transboundary flows of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.
 Listed as emerging issues are coordinated ground water management in the Sumas-Abbotsford area; management of solid, hazardous and biomedical wastes; and water resources including protection of instream flows.
 Designated as an issue of ongoing interest is protection of wetlands and wildlife habitat. Parties also can use the initiative to identify and address other issues of concern such as earthquake and emergency preparedness.
 On the economic front, Gardner and Harcourt agreed today on a new initiative to work together on scientific and technological research and development. Discussions already are underway to undertake joint trade missions to Europe and Japan this fall to promote this region as an advanced technology center.
 The two leaders also discussed log exports and regional energy issues, including natural gas sales and the generation and transmission of electricity through the Columbia River Treaty.
 -0- 5/7/92
 /CONTACT: Dan Youmans of the Office of the Governor, 206-753-6790/ CO: Office of the Governor ST: Washington IN: SU:


LM-JH -- SE008 -- 7724 05/07/92 14:45 EDT
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Date:May 7, 1992
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