Years of hard work by ICL has paid off today as the Environmental Protection Agency issued final regulations limiting the amount of toxic mercury pollution from gold mines and gold-processing facilities.
“The EPA’s new rule is critically important to protecting the health of our children from mercury poisoning,” said Justin Hayes, ICL program director. Mercury is a powerful toxin that affects children and pregnant women.
“By directing this industry to install devices to reduce their mercury emissions, the EPA is ensuring that the health of our kids is finally going to placed ahead of corporate profits. Yes, it will cost the gold companies a little extra money—but it is affordable, and our kids are worth it.”
ICL become aware of the extent of mercury contamination impacting people living downwind of the mines in 2005. Since that time ICL has worked extensively in Idaho, Utah and Nevada to expose the gold mines as the source of contamination. With rented equipment, ICL staff drove into Nevada and, for the first time ever, measured the amount of mercury in the air downwind of these gold mines. Armed with this information, ICL began a multiyear effort to force the companies to reveal the true magnitude of their mercury pollution.
Today, as this rule is released, we can celebrate a win for healthy families, clean water and clean air in Idaho!