Wed., September 30, 2009 9:54am (EDT)

Congress Set to Finalize Anti-Mercury Bill
By Noel Brown
Updated: 5 years ago

AUGUSTA, Ga.  —  
Congress is working on a bill that will eventually force companies like Olin to stop using the toxic chemical mercury for manufacturing chlorine.
Congress is working on a bill that will eventually force companies like Olin to stop using the toxic chemical mercury for manufacturing chlorine.
The Olin plant in Augusta is one of only 4 facilities in the U.S. still using mercury to produce chlorine.

According to the environmental group Oceana, that process adds more than 600 pounds of mercury to the air and water along the Savannah River each year.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a mark-up to put the finishing touches on a bill that gives companies like Olin two years to phase out the use of mercury. But officials with Representative John Barrow’s office say the congressman is proposing an amendment that will give companies until 2018 to make the switch.

A spokesperson for Barrow says that giving companies more time to convert will save more than 100 jobs at the Olin plant in Augusta.

Right now more than 95 percent of the chlorine manufactured in the U.S. uses mercury free processes according to Oceana.