Critical Loads: Science and Policy

Gary Lovett1 and Timothy Tear2

Air pollution is having a serious impact on species, communities and ecosystems in the eastern U.S. We evaluated and synthesized the research on these impacts and concluded that there are two key policy issues that need to be addressed at the state, regional and federal levels. First, there is a need for ecologically relevant air pollution standards such as critical loads. Second, there is a need for more comprehensive and integrated monitoring programs to track the status of key species and ecosystem properties and their response to continued deposition of air pollutants. We produced a report that summarized the science and explained the policy needs, and we have been working in partnership with other NGOs to advance these policy initiatives in the federal and New York State governments. We will discuss the current status of these initiatives and our view of prospects for future progress.

1 Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY, Phone: (845)677-7600 x 132; Email
2 The Nature Conservancy of New York, Albany, NY