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Collaboration and Partnerships

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Commodity-Grade Mercury Stakeholder Panel

Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances and the Office of Pollution
Prevention and Toxics

Geographic location or area of activity:    Washington, DC and Denver, Colorado

Description of activity:  In EPA's July 2006 Roadmap for Mercury, EPA committed to working with other federal agencies to initiate a process with technical experts and interested parties to assess options for managing domestic elemental, commodity-grade mercury.  In conjunction with several other federal partners, EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics created a commodity-grade mercury stakeholder panel, which established and assessed options for managing non-federal supplies of mercury.  This effort to address a highly contentious issue required diplomacy, tact and sensitivity on the part of EPA to elicit meaningful contributions from the diverse stakeholder group.

Background:  EPA expects that excess supplies of elemental, commodity-grade mercury could emerge on the world market over the coming 10 to 30 years, as various global sources of mercury–especially surpluses resulting from the shift away from mercury use by chlor-alkali manufacturing plants—exceed a shrinking demand for mercury-containing products and industrial use of mercury, particularly in the developed world.  However, demand for mercury use in artisanal mining, a major source of mercury emissions to the environment, is expected to increase during this time frame.  As a result, there is likely to be an increasing need to ensure that programs are in place to safely manage mercury supplies for the long-term.

The stakeholder panel consisted of a diverse mix of representatives from academia, industry (e.g., chlor-alkali, mining, mercury brokers), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and states.  Representatives from various federal agencies served as technical advisors, and provided background information and technical support to the stakeholder panel as needed. 

The charge to the panel participants was to consider:

  1. How should the various non-federal stocks of mercury be managed both in the short-term and the long-term?
  2. How do current and future supply and demand affect this determination for each of the various stocks?

The panel met four times between May and September 2007 in Washington, D.C. and in Denver, Colorado.  The meetings were open to the public, and included opportunities for public comment. 

Although the panel was tasked to offer individual, not group, feedback to EPA, the stakeholder process led to all parties gaining an enhanced understanding of the myriad issues relating to management and disposal of commodity-grade mercury.  This process was extremely beneficial for the EPA and other Federal participants and the feedback received has been vital to the Administration's internal deliberations on how to address this complex market issue.  
Interagency partners: EPA's Federal partners included the Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Department of State, and the Executive Office of the President (Office of Management and Budget, Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative).
Local partners: Members of EPA's Commodity-Grade Mercury Stakeholder Panel:  Dr. Edward Balistreri, Division of Economics and Business Colorado School of Mines; Suzanne Bangert, Director-Waste Management and Materials Division, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Michael Bender, Executive Director, Mercury Policy Project; Brad Buscher, Chairman and CEO Mercury Waste Solutions, Inc. ; Art Dungan, President, The Chlorine Institute, Inc.; Dr. Joseph Graney, Department of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Binghamton University; Peggy Harris, P.E., Chief Regulatory and Program Development Division, Department of Toxics and Substance Control, California EPA;  Mark Kohorst, Executive Director, Thermostat Recycling Corporation, National Electrical Manufacturers Association;  Bruce Lawrence, President and Owner; Bethlehem Apparatus Company, Inc. ; David Lennett, Senior Advisor, Natural Resources Defense Council; Dr. Glenn Miller, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada – Reno; Arleen O'Donnell, Acting Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Joseph Pollara, Chief Environmental Engineer, Newmont Mining Corporation, International Council on Metals and Mining (ICMM); Eric Uram, Vice Chair, John Muir Chapter of Sierra Club, ational Environmental Quality Strategy Team

Activity URL: https://www.epa.gov/mercury/stocks/index.htm

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