Toxics & Environmental Health

2011 Legislative Accomplishments

The 2011 legislative session was filled with victories on VPIRG-backed legislation across each of our program areas. With a new governor in office for the first time in eight years, our small state suddenly had opportunities to pass the kind of major policy initiatives that our friends in other parts of the country could only …

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Governor Shumlin Signs Mercury Lamps Bill

On May 19th, Gov. Shumlin signed the Mercury Lamps Bill, which will establish a recycling program for light bulbs that contain small amounts of mercury. We all know the benefits of fluorescent bulbs. They save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, they also contain mercury which makes the need for effective light bulb recycling programs crucial.

2011 Legislative Session at a glance

One of my favorite things about directing VPIRG is that by working with members like you and our partners across the state, we manage to get things done that my colleagues in other states can only dream about. Consider our list of accomplishments in the legislative session that just ended on Friday.

S. 34 Mercury Lamps Fact Sheet

A guide to the Mercury Lamps Bill (S.34). S.34 would require manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps to establish a free and convenient recycling program for fluorescent bulbs. By financing the cost of recycling their products, manufacturers will have a powerful incentive to design their lamps to last longer and to exclude the toxic materials, including mercury, that make recycling so difficult and expensive.

Important vote on mercury lamp recycling

The benefits of fluorescent bulbs in terms of energy efficiency are tremendous, and VPIRG supports their continued use. However, fluorescent bulbs also contain mercury, a known neurotoxin that can build up in our bodies and the environment. As the demand for energy efficient lighting increases, it’s imperative that Vermont have an effective recycling infrastructure in place.

The Agency of Natural Resources is looking for input on their proposed e-waste plan

Last spring, VPIRG successfully advocated for an e-waste law that requires manufacturers to pay for an electronics recycling program in Vermont, including free and convenient collection programs in every county across the state. The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has drafted their plan and took public comment — including many from our VPIRG members — in December.

Tritium leak reaches local drinking water aquifer

Tritium was discovered in a former drinking water well at Vermont Yankee, according to the Vermont Department of Health. The well where the tritium was found is about 360 feet deep, passing through the bedrock into the underground aquifer at the plant. The sample taken from the well revealed tritium concentration of 1,380 picocuries-per-liter. Entergy Louisiana could …

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