Mercury Policy and Science in Northeastern North America: The Mercury Action Plan of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers
In June 1998 the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG--ECP) adopted a comprehensive regional Mercury Action Plan (MAP) with aggressive emission reduction and pollution prevention goals for the New England States, the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec. New Jersey and New York have also been active participants. The NEG--ECP MAP was motivated by, and based on, extensive data demonstrating the widespread and serious nature of mercury impacts in the region and the existence of many preventable sources of mercury pollution. The plan established a long-term goal of virtually eliminating anthropogenic mercury releases in the region with interim goals of a 50% reduction by 2003 and 75% by 2010. Policy and regulatory initiatives implemented under the NEG--ECP MAP have exceeded federal efforts addressing mercury and have resulted in substantial regional progress in reducing mercury pollution. Recent data indicates that the region has reduced mercury emissions by approximately 55% since the NEG--ECP MAP was adopted. The NEG--ECP MAP provides an important demonstration of what can be technologically, economically and politically accomplished and has influenced mercury reduction programs at the global scale. Scientific information played important roles in developing and implementing this plan. Key research areas where regional policy makers would benefit from additional information include improved: environmental indicators for tracking progress, mercury release inventories, especially on mercury product breakage and mobile sources, deposition sources, including in-region and out-of-region contributors, elemental mercury exposure and impact data, determinants of mercury levels in fish, ecological impacts of mercury, and data on the effectiveness of outreach efforts.