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Chinese mercury is bad; US mercury is good

U.S. Hypocritical for Criticizing China's Mercury Pollution While Blocking Global Agreements, Say Advocates

BEJING, April 12 /U.S. Newswire/ — While traveling in China, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Steve Johnson criticized China for polluting the United States with mercury pollution, stating that "Pollution — especially mercury pollution — knows no international borders," according to press reports from the capital. Yet this stance is hypocritical, say advocates.

"Not only has the U.S. failed to take meaningful steps to clean up mercury power plant emissions at home, but they have consistently blocked international discussions that could have already led to global agreements on reducing mercury pollution," said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project, and spokesperson for the Ban Mercury Working Group, a coalition of 28 nongovernmental organizations from around the globe.

When releasing its power plant Mercury Rule, EPA stated that "We could eliminate all mercury emissions from U.S. coal fired power plants but it wouldn't solve the problem…until global mercury emissions can be reduced…" Yet, hypocritically, EPA neglected to mention that at the UNEP meeting last year in Nairobi the Bush Administration failed to even allow discussions proposed by the European Union and others about developing international mercury reduction agreements.

"The Bush EPA is speaking out of both sides of its mouth," said Bender. "At the U.N. meeting they hijacked the process and blocked development of a global strategy despite the overwhelming evidence from the U.N. about the need for immediate and long-term international action on mercury. All the U.S. proposed were voluntary mercury partnerships-not reduction goals or anything else. This is sheer hypocrisy."

For more information:

http://www.epa.gov/mercury/

http://www.chem.unep.ch/mercury/

http://www.mercurypolicy.org/new/documents/EPARule031505.pdf

http://www.mercurypolicy.org/new/documents/ClearingTheRecord022503.pdf

http://www.mercurypolicy.org/new/documents/UNEPGCRelease022505.pdf

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