All across New Hampshire this week, annual town meetings are considering the hazards of acid rain. And by a combination of circumstances, their verdict may well have an impact far beyond state borders, reports Monitor staff writer Robert Kilborn Jr.
On the meeting agenda of some 195 New Hampshire towns, environmentalists placed an article calling for two things - a 50 percent cut in sulfur dioxide emissions by 1990 and a treaty between the United States and Canada that commits them to that goal. By Thursday, 95 towns had voted favorably. At this writing, none was known to have defeated it. Voting continues through Saturday. The impact of the measure might have been negligible, say representatives of the Acid Rain Education Project, which sponsored the town-meeting resolutions, except for:
* The widely publicized controversy earlier this month over two Canadian-produced films on acid rain that were labeled ''propaganda'' by the US government.
* The early start of the US presidential-campaign season, which has brought virtually all the declared Democratic contenders to New Hampshire. This gave sponsors an opportunity to stimulate discussion, enlist candidates' support, and apply pressure on those who ducked the issue. Of the declared Democratic candidates, only Sen. John Glenn of Ohio declined to endorse the article or any of the bills pending in the Senate on the acid-rain problem. Former Vice-President Walter Mondale and Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado sent their best wishes to the acid-rain-resolution proponents. Senators Hart, Alan Cranston of California, and Ernest Hollings of South Carolina are cosponsors of a proposed amendment to the Clean Air Act that would curb acid rain.