Obama Reverses Bush Policy on Mercury Pollution

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Throughout its eight years in power, the Bush administration stubbornly opposed U.S. involvement in any international treaty that would control mercury pollution. Mercury, most of which is generated by coal-fueled power plants, settles in the oceans and is absorbed by fish that are then eaten by humans. Mercury can cause developmental problems in children. While he was a senator, Barack Obama sponsored legislation that would require toxic mercury to be stored in the United States rather than allow it to be exported to countries where regulation was looser. Now that he is president, Obama has moved quickly to join with the international community to limit the creation of more mercury pollution.

At a global meeting of environmental ministers in Nairobi, Kenya, Daniel Reifsnyder, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for environment and sustainable development, told a relieved crowd that the U.S. now wants to work with the United Nations to begin mercury-related negotiations.
US Reverses, Seeks Global Treaty on Mercury (by Tom Maliti, Associated Press)
Mercury in Fish: A Global Health Hazard (Zero Mercury Working Group)


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