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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

August 21, 1992

Air Date: August 21, 1992


Soviet Nuclear Contamination Confirmed / John McWhorter

John McWhorter of Alaska Public Radio Network reports on testimony at a special Senate hearing in Fairbanks, Alaska. CIA director Robert Gates confirmed at the hearing that wide stretches of the former Soviet Union were contaminated by radioactive waste from Soviet nuclear weapons programs. It’s feared that radioactivity from some of the sites in the Arctic could find threaten parts of Alaska and Canada. (03:46)

Cataloging the Contamination

Steve talks with Mr. X. of Greenpeace, the first organization to report on the dumping of reactors from several Soviet Navy ships in the Kara Sea off Siberia. X says the nuclear contamination is a result of accidents, purposeful dumping and "peaceful" nuclear explosions for such things as mining operations. (05:07)

Listener Comments

Steve reads the mail. (02:52)

Environmentalists Promise Fight on Free Trade / Jon Greenberg

Living on Earth's Jon Greenberg reports from Washington on the brewing battle over the environmental impacts of the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. (05:31)

Canadian Environmentalists React To NAFTA / Glen Powell

The CBC's Glen Powell reports from Toronto on how some Canadian environmental groups are viewing NAFTA. They say the agreement provides little improvement over the current US-Canada free trade pact. (04:07)

Show Credits and Funders

Show Transcript

Host: Steve Curwood
Newscaster: Jan Nunley
Reporters: Jessica Berman, Monica Weiner, John McWhorter, Jon Greenberg, Glenn Powell
Guests: Josh Handler, Greenpeace

(Music intro)

CURWOOD: From National Public Radio, this is Living on Earth.

(Theme up and fade under)

CURWOOD: I’m Steve Curwood. The Central Intelligence Agency is now confirming reports of massive radioactive contamination in the former Soviet Union. It may be the most polluted place on earth.

GATES: Radioactive waste resulting from the extraction of plutonium for the USSR’s first nuclear weapons at Chelyabinsk-65 were discharged directly into the Techav River, resulting in severe contamination of the watershed for thousands of kilometers downstream.

CURWOOD: Some charge the new North American Free Trade Agreement weakens environmental protection, but the pact may be difficult to change.

WILLIAMS: It’s no small thing to take on the industrial interests of the United States, so we’re up against very difficult odds and it’s going to be a very big struggle for us.

CURWOOD: This week on Living on Earth. First, this roundup of the news.

(Music out)

Environmental News

NUNLEY: I’m Jan Nunley with this week’s environmental news.

The Bush Administration’s position on carbon taxes is apparently being contradicted by one of its own agencies. The study by the EPA shows that carbon taxes can reduce the threat of global warming without hindering economic growth. In fact, sources at the EPA say the agency has found that if revenues were used to lower some other taxes, the carbon tax could boost some US economic output. But the ongoing EPA study says US competitiveness depends on the tax also being instituted in Europe and Japan. Both President Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton oppose such a tax.

The Veterans Administration is setting up special treatment facilities for Gulf War veterans beset by mysterious ailments. Some believe the illnesses were caused by the Kuwaiti oil fires. Jessica Berman reports from Washington.

BERMAN: At least 300 troops who served in Operation Desert Storm report chronic fatigue, nerve damage, shortness of breath and hair loss. The Defense Department is investigating to see whether the symptoms are the result of exposure to large amounts of smoke from oil well fires as well as toxins from unignited petroleum. In the meantime, the Veterans Administration has opened environmental referral centers in Washington, D.C., Houston, and Los Angeles. The centers will handle Persian Gulf vets with the mysterious symptoms. The VA already has an environmental physician at each of its 171 medical centers, an outgrowth of the military’s experience with the defoliant Agent Orange. VA officials reportedly say they want to avoid a repeat of the government’s experience with Agent Orange. Veterans’ complaints of medical problems went unresolved for years after Vietnam. For Living on Earth, I’m Jessica Berman in Washington.

NUNLEY: Meanwhile, the journal Nature reports that shellfish taken from some Persian Gulf waters in the months following the Gulf War were actually less polluted than similar pre-war samples. This, despite the spilling of four to eight million barrels of oil into the Gulf during the war. The article says the Saudi Arabian coastline bore the brunt of the spills, and that water quality in other parts of the Gulf has actually improved. The researchers believe the war curtailed chronic contamination associated with oil tanker traffic.

New disarmament treaties have led to a temporary rise in the number of nuclear warheads in the US. That’s according to a study by Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which used public information to track bombs being brought back to the US from overseas and to pinpoint their locations in 25 states. Robert Norris of the NRDC says most of the warheads stockpiled in the US will be dismantled within eight years.

NORRIS: What we’re going to be left with is probably 60 or 70 tons of plutonium and probably 350 or 400 tons of highly enriched uranium. What we’re going to do with that remains to be seen.

NUNLEY: Norris says the stockpiled uranium could be reprocessed and used to fuel nuclear power plants, but the deadly plutonium will have to be stored.

This is Living on Earth.

A congressionally-commissioned report says America’s national parks are in jeopardy from the stress of hosting millions of visitors each year. The study by the National Research Council concludes that the Parks Service has lacked a strong scientific program to address the effects of increasing use. It recommends more money for research . . .an independent science advisory board . . . and the appointment of a chief scientist for the agency. The panel, which included three former Parks Service officials, said the steps are needed to deal with the effects of such problems as overcrowding, air pollution and encroaching development.

France has closed its border to all trash from neighboring Germany, after French authorities found hazardous hospital waste mixed in with regular trash exports. From Munich, Monica Weiner has the story.

WEINER: The garbage scandal started when some French authorities discovered hospital waste, such as needles, blood bags, and bandages, in German waste that was shipped into France. The hospital waste was found in a truck that was carrying glass which was supposed to be recycled in France. Because the import of hospital waste is illegal, the French authorities closed the borders for all waste imports. Until they closed the border, the French disposed of and recycled 1000 tonnes of German waste every year. Strict German garbage regulations make the disposal of waste five times more expensive in Germany than in France. The struggle with France is only the beginning because the German government is trying to stop the incineration of garbage altogether. For Living on Earth, I’m Monica Weiner in Munich.

NUNLEY: The National Marine Fisheries Service is moving to protect whales, dolphins and other marine mammals from overly curious humans. The agency’s new whale-watching rules would require boaters to stay at least 300 feet from the animals, and aircraft 1000 feet, to allow undisturbed feeding and socializing. Violators of the new rules could face fines of up to ten thousand dollars.

That’s this week’s environmental news. I’m Jan Nunley.

(Theme sting)

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Soviet Nuclear Contamination Confirmed

CURWOOD: This is Living on Earth. I’m Steve Curwood.

The most polluted place on Earth. That’s what some American scientists and Russian officials are calling a Siberian province that the Soviet military apparently sacrificed to radioactive waste during the nuclear arms race. The shocking extent of nuclear contamination in Chelyabinsk, near the Ural Mountains, and in the waters and islands of the Arctic Ocean was recently confirmed by CIA chief Robert Gates during special Senate hearings in Alaska. From Fairbanks, John McWhorter of Alaska Public Radio has our story.

McWHORTER: With the recent demise of the Soviet Union, rumors have been surfacing about severe pollution caused by Russian military activities. More recently, the Russians are admitting that they were so careless, they poisoned vast ecosystems with radioactive elements like cesium, strontium and plutonium that now threaten the entire Arctic. Speaking recently at a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing in Fairbanks, CIA Director Robert Gates for the first time confirmed reports of environmental “dead zones.”

GATES: The former Soviet Union’s attitude towards safety and handling of radioactive waste materials was, to say the least, lackadaisical from the very beginning of its nuclear program. Radioactive waste resulting from the extraction of plutonium for the USSR’s first nuclear weapons at Chelyabinsk-65 were discharged directly into the Techav River, resulting in severe contamination of the watershed for thousands of kilometers downstream. (fade under )

McWHORTER: Gates ticked off several sites that were polluted by dumping that continued into the 1980’s. Some of the most potentially dangerous lay in the biologically-rich waters of the Berents Sea, near Norway, around an island called Novaya Zemlaya.

GATES: The USSR dumped substantial quantities of radioactive waste in Arctic waters, including the three damaged original nuclear reactors of the icebreaker Lenin, and reportedly reactors from several submarines, including some with nuclear fuel aboard. (fade under)

McWHORTER: Scientists testifying at the hearing now worry those reactors may be leaking, and they called for monitoring programs to assess the risk. At the same time, other scientists worry the cash-strapped Russians may be falling behind on maintaining several Chernobyl-style reactors that they still use to power the nation. While all this may sound like it’s half a world away, researchers warn that other Arctic nations, including the United States and Canada, are at risk. Stephanie Pfirman, an oceanographer with the Environmental Defense Fund, presented a map showing that in winter the Arctic atmosphere is a closed system that reaches across Russia and links it with North America.

PFIRMAN: Any pollutants that are put into this air mass during the winter time have the possibility of being transported throughout the entire Arctic, so we are linked whether we like it or not. What you see here in this hook shape is a pulse of highly polluted air that was released from Europe and was transported across the Arctic within five days. This gives you an indicated of just how closely we’re linked to Siberia and Eastern Europe.

MCWHORTER: Pfirman noted that, in addition to an atmospheric threat, radioactive waste can also be carried on deep oceanic currents. Although she cautioned that not enough is known, there is a risk to the Bering Sea and other fisheries that provide much of the seafood eaten in the United States. The hearings were held in Fairbanks at the behest of Alaska Senator Frank Murkowski, the vice chair of the Intelligence Committee. Murkowski has been pushing for an international monitoring program to determine the extent of Russian nuclear pollution. That has been included in a three and a half billion dollar Russian aid package that was passed by the Senate and awaits action in the House. But some scientists testified that the cost of the cleanup could run into the hundreds of billions of dollars. For Living on Earth, I’m John McWhorter in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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Cataloging the Contamination

CURWOOD: Long before the Senate hearings in Alaska this month, journalists and environmental activists were coming back from Russia with reports of massive radioactive contamination. Greenpeace, for example, last February was the first to report that a dozen Soviet submarine reactors, and those from three nuclear-powered icebreakers, had been dumped in the Kara Sea.

Daniel (sic ) Handler is the head of Greenpeace’s Nuclear-Free Seas campaign. He’s visited some of the most dangerously contaminated parts of the former Soviet Union, and he testified before Senator Murkowski’s committee in Fairbanks. Speaking with us from Anchorage, Alaska, he says the former Soviet Union countryside became contaminated by a range of military nuclear activities.

HANDLER: One is the weapons production, which is mainly centered in the center of Russia. Here, highly enriched uranium and plutonium was produced and separated, and millions of curies of radiation were dumped into open pits, into rivers and storage tanks. One of these storage tanks in Chelyabinsk exploded in 1957, releasing hundreds of thousands of curies of radiation and contaminating tens of thousands of square kilometers of area. Now, another major source of contamination, nuclear contamination in Russia comes from the weapons testing program. There again you’ve had extensive contamination from the nuclear tests above the atmosphere as well as underground tests they’ve vented. In addition to these military tests, they’ve had roughly a hundred and twenty or so of what are called “peaceful” nuclear explosions, for the purposes of mining, increasing gas production, construction, and any number of these sites are contaminated as well. Then you also now have another problem, with what we could call the naval nuclear propulsion program. Since the first submarine went to sea in the late 1950’s, there’s been a number of extensive accidents or serious accidents on these submarines, and contamination from disposal of their nuclear waste.

CURWOOD: How does this affect people health-wise? Is there any way to measure this?

HANDLER: Well, they’re two separate questions, actually. Forty percent of the country, as the former head of the environmental ministry told us, is ecologically contaminated, as he put it, environmentally contaminated, and twenty percent of the area borders on the ecological disaster zone. So separating out the effects of radiation from the effects of industrial pollutants both in the air and the water and the soil, as well as poor nutrition, could get very difficult. In the reports at the hearings, they had their representative from Siberian Medical Institute who said they’d seen a doubling of the cancer rates over the last twenty years.

CURWOOD: What do you think the effect has been on the fisheries?

HANDLER: That’s the one bit of reassuring news we have at the moment, that nobody has detected a high level of radiation in the fish caught in the Barents Sea or in the Bering Sea over the last twenty or thirty years, or at least nothing that is not explained by the primary source of radiation in the Arctic at the moment, which is from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. But always we have this outstanding collection for the future.

CURWOOD: What’s being done now? I gather the Russians need money to address this -- is that the proper approach, do you think?

HANDLER: Clearly capital has to be provided in some shape or form. The Russians don’t have the money to do it themselves. In the case of the dumping of radioactive materials in the Arctic, I think we need to determine as quickly as possible the material shape of the radioactive materials that have been dumped, and then if they’re in reasonably good shape, the best thing to do is to raise them and put them in a monitorable, retrievable storage system on land. If they look to be in poor material shape, to the point that if you tried to raise them you’d crack them open and have a catastrophic release of radiation, then what we need to do is probably look at (?) them in some way. In the case of the situation in the interior of the Soviet Union, at the weapons complexes, we’re looking at a massive clean-up job, just like we have here in the United States. It’s been variously estimated that it’ll cost 150 to 300 billion to clean up our nuclear weapons complex. One can only assume the Russian situation is a little bit worse than what we have here, and will cost a bit more.

CURWOOD: Why is the CIA talking about this now? They must have know about this for years; I mean, that was their business, keeping track of what the Soviet Union was doing. Why we hearing about it today?

HANDLER: Well, one, I think it’s partially by urging of Senator Frank Murkowski, since he invited the CIA up to this special intelligence hearing to talk about it. But also the CIA’s kinda getting on the green bandwagon; we’re suddenly finding all sorts of federal agencies over the years who had very different missions suddenly are environmentalists. But what I found very interesting about it is we finally have the first high government official from the Executive Branch that’s confirmed most of the reports that environmental groups have been making over the last couple of years about radioactive pollution in Russia, obviously implying that maybe this government can do something about it.

CURWOOD: What do you think the United States should do about it

HANDLER: Stop our submarine operations in the Arctic. Stop nuclear testing. Arrange for some loan arrangements so the Russians can have capital to properly decommission their nuclear-powered submarines, and make sure that US aid goes to energy-efficiency matters rather than building more nuclear power plants in the Far East or Russia or elsewhere.

CURWOOD: And why stop operating our subs and stop testing?

HANDLER: Because the Russians, they still think they’re a superpower. They still think they’re a major power. They’re not going to stop their submarine operations until we stop ours. We don’t need to operate in the Arctic, the Cold War’s over. We cannot risk a naval Chernobyl at sea in the Arctic or elsewhere.

CURWOOD: Thank you. Josh Handler is research director for Greenpeace’s Nuclear-Free Seas program. He spoke to us from Anchorage, Alaska. Thank you, sir.

HANDLER: Thank you, Steve.

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(Music bed)

Listener Comments

CURWOOD: Just ahead on Living on Earth. . . the new North American Free Trade Agreement is still largely under wraps. But some environmentalists in the US and Canada don’t like much of what they’ve been able to see. We’ll have reports from Washington and Toronto, but first, let’s open our mailbag.

(Letters theme under)

Bruce Burhans of Seattle writes about our recent program on losses of the ozone layer. “you have aired two excellent programs on the ozone problem, “ Mr. Burhans writes, “but have not mentioned the semi-conductor PC chip industry.” Their solvents, he says, are a growing source of ozone-destroying chemicals.

John Carroll’s commentary, taking the “Beyond Beef” ad campaign to task, provoked a stampede of responses. Tony Thibodeau of Santa Fe, New Mexico calls the comments “absurd and immature,” and asks how Carroll can criticize the “documented and well-founded statistics he presents and not offer any substantial alternative.” And David Diamond, of Dover, New Hampshire, writes, “Based on the commentary, it sounds like ‘Beyond Beef’ has been presenting some basic facts about beef eating that are important to know if we are going to correct our habits of devastating the environment.”

And Robert Wilson of Asheville, North Carolina has this to say about Carroll’s comments:

WILSON: His comments seemed to tell me, after hearing them and knowing that he eats beef, that beef cannot be considered ‘brain food.’

Larry Turner of Flagstaff, Arizona heard our report on Cuba’s new reliance on commuter bicycles in response to cutbacks in Russian oil imports. He says our report “showed only a part of the changing Cuban picture. Cuba is also soberly busy with building and operating its own nuclear power plants . . . It is, after all, difficult to operate hospitals and factories with pedal- or mule-power.” This omission. Mr. Turner writes, “reflected the characteristic American perceptual problem concerning nuclear power.”

And from a listener to KUNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico comes this comment. “(Havana is) a neat city to bike in and the recording of the bell brought back memories to me. For all of the political problems, Cuba is using bicycles, little gas and (few) cars . . . What will happen when the Americans return? . . . By the way.” he writes, “our government makes it a crime to travel to Cuba.”

If you have comments, send them to Living on Earth . . . Box 639, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02238. That’s Living on Earth, Box 639, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02238. Be sure to include a daytime phone number if you’d like your comments considered for broadcast, or call our listener comment line . . . at 617-868-7454. That’s 617-868-7454.

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(music bed up and fade)

Environmentalists Promise Fight on Free Trade

CURWOOD: Ralph Nader’s watchdog group Public Citizen has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the complete text of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Negotiators from the US, Canada and Mexico recently announced the pact had been completed, but the White House says it won’t release the full text until lawyers have reviewed its detailed language.

But Public Citizen and others say the pact could prove costly to both US jobs and the environment. And with only summaries available, the Republicans could use the agreement to boost President Bush’s re-election campaign without having to defend what’s in the fine print.

We have two reports on how the treaty is being received, the first from Living on Earth’s Jon Greenberg in Washington.

GREENBERG: What makes the North American Free Trade Agreement , or NAFTA, exceptional in environmental terms is that it’s the first time such a treaty opens the border between two very different economies. . . one fully industrialized, the other still developing. There’s a big gap between health and pollution controls in Canada and the US and those in Mexico. Back in January, the Bush Administration acknowledged that it would need to break new ground weaving environmental protections into this commercial trade document. During a recent blitz of administration news-briefings touting the NAFTA, EPA administrator William Reilly said negotiators had met the challenge.

REILLY: This is the most environmentally sensitive, the greenest free trade agreement ever negotiated anywhere. It marks a watershed in the history of environmental protection. NAFTA protects states’ rights by allowing regional subdivisions like our states to enact standards that are tougher that national standards.

GREENBERG: Reilly was trying to reassure those who worry that the NAFTA would undermine environmental regulations in the US. Democratic Congressman Gerry Sikorski of Minnesota is part of a group of lawmakers who call themselves pro-trade, pro-environment. He found little comfort in Reilly’s words.

SIKORSKI: For a year the Administration has claimed that there was no place in NAFTA for environmental issues. Then when they recognized that Congress wasn’t going to buy this, Republicans and Democrats both, in the past few weeks the Administration has been back-pedaling, trying to ‘green-wash’ the NAFTA agreement by announcing some new ‘green language’ when in fact no breakthroughs have occurred. The little ‘green language’ that we’ve seen is more window-dressing.

GREENBERG: Among the top environmental concerns: that weak enforcement of Mexico’s environmental laws would turn that country into a haven for industrial polluters. Then, if that happens, plants in Mexico would be able to undercut US producers by avoiding the costs of protecting the environment. This would put pressure on the US to lower its environmental standards. The Administration says it has addressed these concerns, but environmentalists say no, it hasn’t. A major problem at the moment is few people outside the Administration have actually seen the agreement. The Administration has released only a summary that includes none of the precise terms of the deal. That in itself breeds suspicion, primarily that the Administration’s fine rhetoric won’t be reflected in the fine print. And even the broad outlines contained in the summary makes some, like Justin Ward of the Natural Resources Defense Council, believe that the administration has given the environment short shrift.

WARD: I noticed that the agreement appears to contain strong enforcement measures to protect investors, as well as in the area of intellectual property rights, but there is nothing in the agreement that provides for stronger enforcement of environmental laws throughout North America, which we regard as an essential component that will need to be added.

GREENBERG: In the eyes of Ward and his colleagues, the NAFTA needs an environmental overhaul. It must provide money to help the Mexican government enforce its laws. And it must include iron-clad guarantees that American environmental regulations will be protected. The country’s major environmental organizations appear to agree on these points. If that consensus holds, they could turn congressional approval of the treaty into a litmus test of environmental commitment. So far, a majority of lawmakers in both Houses have said clearly they could only support a treaty that protects the environment. But the companies that stand to benefit from the NAFTA are likely to lobby hard for approval of the treaty as it is written now. The Sierra Club’s Larry Williams says that kind of pressure will be tough to overcome.

WILLIAMS: It’s no small thing to take on the industrial interests of the United States. So we’re up against very difficult odds, and it’s going to be a very big struggle for us.

GREENBERG: At this point, the Administration is on the side of the companies. EPA Administrator Reilly has said that the environmental protections in the NAFTA are as strong as they are going to get.

REILLY: I think the readiness of trade officials in all countries to accept criticisms on environmental grounds is going to be very small. I think we ought to work with the treaty that has been agreed to, and ought to be very, um, very pleased with the result.

GREENBERG: President Bush is heralding the NAFTA as proof that he’s doing something to spur the nation’s economy. But the treaty won’t come to a vote until next year, that is, after the fall elections. With record turnover expected in the House and in the Senate, there certainly will be many new faces in Congress. And there could be a new President. One who might not like the deal cut by his predecessor, and could send the negotiators back to the bargaining table. For Living on Earth, this is Jon Greenberg in Washington.

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Canadian Environmentalists React To NAFTA

CURWOOD: Before talks began with Mexico, the US and Canada signed a free-trade agreement of their own four years ago . . . an agreement which for many offers a guide as to how the new North American pact may work. Environmentally, some say the US-Canada deal has been problematic. . . and as the CBC’s Glenn Powell reports from Toronto, Canadian environmentalists say the new trade deal may be only a slight improvement.

POWELL: Canada’s Minister for International Trade Michael Wilson says environmental protection is a cornerstone of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

WILSON: In fact it has more environmental protections than any other trade agreement. The NAFTA recognizes each country’s right to maintain environmental standards even high than those recommended by international organizations.

POWELL: But environmentalists in Canada are cautious in their appraisals. Janine Ferretti is executive director of Pollution Probe, one of Canada’s major environmental lobby groups. She says NAFTA’s environmental provisions indicate that all three governments have come a long way.

FERRETTI: They’ve obviously recognized the need to ensure that there are environmental safeguards in a trade agreement, and that is what, on the face of it, this trade agreement has.

Ferretti says, from an environmental standpoint, NAFTA is a beginning. But she says it lacks the tough regulations, the firm commitment to ensure environmental protection.

FERRETTI: Many environmentalists in all three countries were concerned that in fact a trade agreement that did not prevent a country from lowering its standards, would result in the creation of pollution payments. The remedy is not something with teeth, where there is a retaliatory measure taken, but it is consultation, which amounts to fifty lashes with a wet noodle.

POWELL: Ferretti says the agreement reflects three governments which first resisted environmental provisions but were forced to change their position in mid-negotiation. Zen Makuch is counsel for the Canadian Environmental Law Association. He says the fact that the three countries have agreed that none will lower standards to attract investment fails to face the reality of Mexico’s low-cost position.

MAKUCH: Nothing is being done to create a level playing field once again, because in this situation, we’re already dealing with a playing field that is tipped decidedly in Mexico’s favor.

POWELL: Makuch says the agreement will inevitably increase tensions between business on the one hand and environmentalists on the other. And he says when the two forces confront one another, history proves it’s the environment that loses. He says control of natural resources was lost under the Canada-US trade agreement, and for Canada, nothing has improved under NAFTA.

MAKUCH: Foreign governments and foreign companies will decide how quickly our forests disappear, how quickly our fish disappear -- and we know how current that issue is -- how quickly our energy reserves disappear. Under the Canada-US free trade agreement, for instance, we have virtually no control over the extent to which energies flow very quickly to the United States to serve their manufacturing and other business interests. We can only invoke any kind of control when a national security issue arises. These trade agreements spell the end of any control over our ability to conserve our natural resources for future generations of Canadians.

POWELL: There has been no official response here to the environmentalists’ criticism of the trade deal. The Federal Government is only beginning its sales pitch, and the environmental provisions will be high profile. But ratifying the agreement in Canada is not really a problem . . . the Mulroney government has a majority in both the House of Commons and the Senate. As a plank in an election agenda, however, NAFTA is not a winner. There’s little doubt that a Canadian public that didn’t like the Canada-US trade agreement will be any more receptive to a North American free trade agreement, with or without environmental safeguards. For Living on Earth, this is Glenn Powell in Toronto.

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(music up and under)

CURWOOD: Our director is Deborah Stavro. Coordinating producer is George Homsy . . . and our production team includes Kim Motylewski, Lucia Small, Colleen Singer, and engineers Curt Lachowin, Laurie Azaria, and Bob Connolly. The producer and editor is Peter Thomson. Our theme music was composed by Michael Aaron. Living on Earth is produced by the World Media Foundation in cooperation with the Public Media Foundation and WBUR Boston. I’m Steve Curwood, executive producer.

(Theme tag up and under credits)


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