Members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee today voted 29-14 to approve H.R. 2190 and move it out of committee. The bill would require chlor-alkali plants to end their use of mercury-based technology in chlorine and caustic soda production.
Oceana, an international ocean conservation group that has been working for nearly five years to persuade nine companies to switch from mercury-based technology to cleaner alternatives, applauds the House vote. Only three U.S. companies have resisted. Ashta Chemicals (plant in OH), Olin Corporation (plants in TN and GA) and PPG Industries (plant in WV) have refused to switch to cleaner, mercury-free technology, despite the fact that doing so could make chlorine production more efficient, increase profitability and save U.S. jobs.
Oceana is grateful for the leadership of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), sponsor of H.R. 2190, who has worked tirelessly to build consensus among her colleagues for legislation that will protect innumerable Americans from mercury exposure.
“Oceana is encouraged that Congress is one step closer to ending this major, unnecessary source of mercury contamination. Congress needs to pass this bill because a few bad actors have failed to upgrade to cleaner and more efficient technology that benefits public health, and this momentum is a very good sign,” said Jacqueline Savitz, Oceana senior campaign director.
Oceana is an international ocean conservation group, which works to protect and restore marine ecosystems from many threats, including mercury contamination. For more information, go to http://www.oceana.org/north-america/what-we-do/stop-seafood-contamination/chlorine-plant-campaign/