SAN FRANCISCO -- The Sierra Club says Ronald Reagan is wrong when he claims that trees cause most of the nitrogen oxide pollution in the United States.
During a speech in Ohio Tuesday night, Reagan responded to Sen. Edward Kennedy's Democratic convention speech in which he accused the Republican candidate of having said 80 percent of air pollution is caused by trees and vegetation.
'He's a little wrong about what I said,' Reagan said. 'First of all, I didn't say 80 percent _ I said 93 percent. And I didn't say air pollution. I said oxides of nitrogen, and I am right.'
But the Sierra Club, in a strongly worded statement Wednesday, said, 'Ronald Reagan is just plain wrong.'
Carl Pope of the Sierra Club said nitrogen oxide pollution is formed by combustion of nitrogen at temperatures over 800 degrees, temperatures that would incinerate any vegetation.
'It is not trees, but power plants, automobiles and factories that put nitrogen oxide pollutants into the atmosphere,' Pope said. He added that 'all sides to the clean air dispute, industry as well as conservationists,' agree on this point.
He said Reagan was also wrong in asserting that nitrogen oxides are responsible for the haze that gives the Great Smoky Mountains their name.
'Nitrogen oxides, even in large concentrations, are brown, not blue,' said Pope. 'They are not found naturally over the Smokies, and they are a serious health menace ...'