Oceana Applauds Erco Worldwide's Decision to Eliminate Mercury Use by Port Edwards Plant | Oceana

Oceana Applauds Erco Worldwide’s Decision to Eliminate Mercury Use by Port Edwards Plant

Press Release Date: October 1, 2009

Location: Washington, DC


Anna Baxter | email: abaxter@oceana.org
Anna Baxter

Jacqueline Savitz, director of Oceana’s Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination, released the following statement today following ERCO Worldwide’s commitment to convert its Port Edwards chlor-alkali facility from mercury-based technology to mercury-free membrane technology:

“ERCO’s commitment to eliminate the use of mercury at its Port Edwards chlor-alkali facility in Wisconsin is great news for Wisconsin residents as well as for public health and the environment as a whole. This single action will result in a full 28% reduction in mercury air emissions in Wisconsin, nearly cutting the state’s emissions by a third. Of the nine plants that were using mercury-cell technology to make chlorine when Oceana launched its campaign in 2005, only four remain that have not committed to stop using mercury. We hope ERCO’s decision will soon be replicated by the four remaining plants that continue to use 110-year-old technology, which results in the release of four times more mercury per plant, on average, than the average power plant.”

“Since the chlorine industry continues to do well economically, it makes perfect sense for the remaining facilities to invest in mercury-free technology now. As shown in Oceana’s recently published report, Cleaning Up: Taking Mercury-Free Chlorine Production to the Bank, switching to mercury-free technology allows for increased energy efficiency and provides an opportunity to increase capacity, sales and profits as ERCO has confirmed in its statement.”

“More than ninety percent of the industry has already moved away from mercury technology in the United States, showing that the use of mercury to produce chlorine is completely unnecessary.  Our campaign to stop the use of mercury-cell technology in chlorine production will continue to shine light on the hundreds of pounds of unnecessary pollution that the remaining four plants continue to release into the air each year.”

Oceana first asked ERCO to make this switch in 2005, and released a series of reports in the following two years highlighting the plant’s status as the top-ranked mercury emitter in Wisconsin. In response to continuing activities conducted by Oceana organizers and activists, ERCO Worldwide produced a powerpoint presentation entitled “In the Crosshairs of an Environmental NGO” which it shared with other Chlorine Institute members. ERCO’s press release announcing its commitment and its powerpoint presentation are both available online.