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Environmental Effects of Free Trade

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When NAFTA was passed in 1994, environmentalists feared catastrophic results. Polluting industries would move to Mexico, where environmental protections hadn't caught up with those in the U.S. and Canada. They were worried that air pollution would increase as more goods were shipped across international borders. And they were concerned that shared resources like the Great Lakes water system might lose their protected status and become commodities subject to trade. Supporters of NAFTA argued that increased prosperity would lead to improved pollution technology and a strengthening of environmental protections. But eight years later, the effects of NAFTA on the environment appear to be mixed. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Karen Schaefer explains why.

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