It's great to have some good news to share, and this one's a whopper. Mercury air pollution from U.S. gold mines has dropped by half – from over 5,000 pounds in 2006 to 2,500 pounds in 2012. This is a remarkable change!
The biggest polluters were giant, open-pit gold mines in northern Nevada, where the amount of mercury pollution was off the charts! Yet, there were no regulations that required these mines to control their emissions.
In 2007, Nevada enacted state-wide regulations, and in 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) followed suit with regulations that require all gold mines in the U.S. to use pollution control devices and meet emission limits.
Earthworks worked hard on both sets of regulations, and we're happy to see the decline in emissions. But, most importantly, these reductions are good news for public health, particularly children who are most vulnerable to mercury pollution!