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April 5, 1996

Mary A. Gade
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
2200 Churchill Road
Springfield, IL  62706

Dear Ms. Gade:

I would like to take this opportunity to note the diverse and valuable
efforts among Great Lakes States to address one of our top regional
priorities, reduction of mercury pollution.  As a result of the
mercury reduction efforts of all the Region V states, we are now
recognized as leaders in this area of national priority.

At the State Environmental Directors' Meeting on June 15, 1995, Region
V states agreed that one of their top environmental priorities was to
reduce the use, generation or release of mercury.  Mercury has been
linked to neurological impairments in humans and is one of the most
common triggers for fish consumption advisories.  Region V gives
particular focus to mercury pollution because of our responsibility
under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to protect the Great
Lakes from persistent, toxic substances, especially those that

I am proud to report that all six Region V states have made impressive
achievements in this area in a very short time period.  Region V
states have:

   Formed mercury task forces to develop and implement recommendations
for specific policy, regulatory, and pollution prevention approaches
to reducing mercury use and emissions;

   Initiated programs to reduce mercury pollution from dental offices
and hospitals through targetted efforts such as educational pamphlets,
consumer awareness programs, and advertisements;

   Worked with specific industries, including the auto industry,
caustic soda users, and thermostat producers, to encourage the use of
production processes which avoid mercury;

   Adopted the Universal Waste Rule (UWR), which provides a means of
discouraging the disposal of mercury-containing products such as
fluorescent lamps and thermostats;

   Assisted in the implementation of a takeback program for mercury

   Regulated the mercury content of batteries sold within their
borders.  Such regulations have the benefit of reducing both
industrial mercury use and emissions from incinerators and landfills;

  Communicated with the Department of Defense to encourage a continued
ban on the sale of U.S. Government stockpiles of mercury.  I
particularly appreciate the efforts of Region V states to support
USEPA's actions to prevent future sales and ensure consistency of
policy across the government.  When the government encourages the use
of this global pollutant through sales, it undermines our policy of
promoting pollution prevention and discouraging unnecessary uses; and

   Become Green Lights partners, enabling them to save energy, reduce
emissions of mercury and other pollutants from electric utilities, and
achieve cost savings through energy-efficient lighting.

I hope that the Region V states will continue to share their successes
in reducing mercury with each other and with the Region V office.  We
have all benefitted and will continue to benefit from having examples
to follow as we work on this important issue.  If you have any
questions or comments on this issue, please feel free to contact
Angela Bandemehr of my staff at
(312) 886-6858 or Alexis Cain at (312) 886-7018.

Sincerely yours,


Valdas V. Adamkus
Regional Administrator

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This Information Last Modified On: 09/18/2008 03:58 PM