ARA States Concerns on Direction of Another Mercury-Related EPA Proposed Rule
On Thursday, ARA urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to more carefully consider the effects that their Iron and Steel Foundries proposed rule might have on the automotive recycling community. Over the past several weeks, the EPA has sought comments on two proposed rules that could potentially undermine the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program (NVMSRP), a program agreed to by ARA, EPA and seven other organizations, representing states, non-governmental organizations, steelmakers, vehicle manufacturers, and scrap metal recyclers to recover mercury containing light switches from end-of-life vehicles.
For a majority of NVMSRP members, removing switches is voluntary and is incentivized through the End-of-Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS) program. The ELVS program is using two grants totaling four million dollars to fund this program. The two grantors consist of the automobile manufacturers and the steel industry.
ARA believes, however, that there is near unanimous agreement that the funds necessary to adequately sustain the ELVS program are not currently available. We further believe that the high number of participants in the current program has been due to a monetary incentive, without which participation would decrease and mercury-reduced automobile scrap could seriously decrease.
In comments to the Agency, ARA cautioned that without ongoing funding for NVMSRP, this proposed rule to a large extent leads to a de facto mandate on automotive recyclers and scrap processors for the removal of accessible convenience lighting mercury switches -- the financial burden which should be the responsibility of niether dismantlers nor shredding operations.
Mercury air emissions are a concern to the environment and ARA is a proponent of addressing this issue. The NVMSRP appears to be achieving success at its initial year anniversary -- with the removal of over 1500 pounds of mercury from the environment. ARA believes, however, that this progress will only continue as long as the members are offered an adequate financial incentive from those responsible for the inclusion of the mercury into the manufactured product.
If you have questions regarding ARA’s comment or other mercury related issues, please contact ARA at (888) 385-1005.