Member Pipeline - Legislative - Alert (LA01-5)

To: Members
From: National Office
Date: April 30, 2001
Reference: LA01-05

Action Please By:
As Soon as Possible

On February 15, 2001, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 351, the Mercury Reduction and Disposal Act of 2001. The bill elevates to the national level the ongoing dialogue in several states on effective ways to reduce the quantity of mercury in the environment. On March 29, 2001, AMSA sent a letter commending Senator Collins on the introduction of S. 351. AMSA voiced its support for the bill acknowledging it as an important first step in reducing the quantity of mercury in the environment. The Senator’s office is appreciative of the POTW community’s support. AMSA now needs your assistance to garner additional support for the bill.

In its March 29th letter, AMSA recommended that the Interagency Task Force on Mercury (Task Force) created by the bill recommend a national environmental mercury compliance strategy, recognizing that mercury pollution problems are not limited by state boundaries. We also suggested that an eighth member appointed by AMSA be added to the Task Force to provide the POTW perspective. AMSA further recommended expanding the proposed Thermometer Exchange Grant Program to collect mercury thermometers and other mercury containing devices from schools.

In an effort to further the national dialogue on mercury, AMSA is asking each member agency to encourage their Senators to cosponsor S. 351 and to support a national mercury compliance strategy. EPA has just published recommended fish tissue water quality criteria for methylmercury that will ultimately be used by states to develop stringent discharge standards for POTWs. In addition, POTWs in Maine and New York are currently faced with legislation that could ultimately impose discharge limits requiring enormous community investment and potentially have little impact on the total quantity of mercury in the environment. A national compliance strategy will act as a framework for states as they address mercury issues and help to underscore the importance of controlling mercury at its source in lieu of imposing stringent effluent guidelines.

AMSA has developed a sample letter (see attached) for you to use in contacting your Senators, as well as several "Helpful Hints" in formatting the letter and reaching Congress. You can download a copy of the sample letter, as well as obtain detailed contact information for your delegation from Congressional Connection which is located on the AMSA website Member Pipeline.

Please make every effort to prepare and send your letter as soon as possible. The bill is slated for consideration by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in the coming months. It is extremely important that the POTW community express its support for this bill and a national compliance strategy for mercury. Please send us a copy of your letter by email ( or by fax (202/833-4657). If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact AMSA's Chris Hornback at 202/833-9106.

Thank you for your assistance in garnering additional support for this key first step toward a national mercury compliance strategy.


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