Mercury Bill Reintroduced - Oceana USA
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2009-04-27 00:00:00

Mercury Bill Reintroduced

Belated good news from late last week: A bill that would phase out the use of mercury in chlorine production was reintroduced in the House of Representatives. This bill was originally authored by President Obama while serving as senator of Illinois. (And for anyone who was at the Seattle GreenFest with us in March, this was the bill for which we were getting petitions.)The Mercury Pollution Reduction Act of 2009, or H.R. 2065, would require the remaining four chlorine factories that use a mercury production process to stop doing so within two years of passage. The use of mercury-based technology by these plants causes the release of the toxic chemical into air and water, and ultimately into our seafood. It also results in the contamination of the chlorine plants’ products, especially chlorine’s co-product, caustic soda.While 95 percent of chlorine produced in the United States uses a mercury-free process, four U.S. plants have continued to use an outdated mercury-dependent approach that releases the contaminant into the air and water surrounding the plant.This contamination is entirely unnecessary because modern methods for chlorine production have been available for decades and are mercury-free. While coal-fired power plants remain the leading source of mercury pollution, these chlorine factories release more mercury than the average coal-fired plant, making them top emitters in their states. For example, the Olin Corporation facility in Tennessee has historically been the number one source of mercury pollution in the state, and the plant has impaired the river on which it’s located, according to local environmental officials. So for the sake of our health, the environment, and the local economies of the “Foul Four” communities, let’s hope this bill passes. Ask your member of congress to support the bill today.