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establish a national mercury monitoring program, and for other purposes.IN
THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
June 13, 2011
COLLINS (for herself and Mr. CARPER) introduced the following bill; which was
read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works
To establish a national mercury monitoring program,
and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate
and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Comprehensive National
Mercury Monitoring Act'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(1) mercury is a potent neurotoxin of significant
ecological and public health concern;
(2) it is estimated
that approximately 410,000 children born each year in the United States are exposed
to levels of mercury in the womb that are high enough to impair neurological development;
(3) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 6 percent of
women in the United States of childbearing age have blood mercury levels in excess
of values determined to be safe by the Environmental Protection Agency;
(4) exposure to mercury occurs largely by consumption of contaminated fish, but
fish and shellfish are important sources of dietary protein, and a healthy fishing
resource is important to the economy of the United States;
(5) in many locations, the primary route for mercury input to aquatic ecosystems
is atmospheric emissions, transport, and deposition;
(6) computer models and other assessment tools provide varying effectiveness in
predicting mercury concentrations in fish, and broad-scale data sets are insufficient
to test model predictions; and
(7) a comprehensive national
mercury monitoring network to accurately quantify regional and national changes
in atmospheric deposition, ecosystem contamination, and bioaccumulation of mercury
in fish and wildlife in response to changes in mercury emissions would help policy
makers, scientists, and the public to better understand the sources, consequences,
and trends in United States mercury pollution.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
(1) ADMINISTRATOR- The term `Administrator' means
the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
(2) PROGRAM- The term `program' means the national mercury monitoring program
established under section 4.
(3) ADVISORY COMMITTEE-
The term `Advisory Committee' means the Mercury Monitoring Advisory Committee
established under section 5.
(4) ANCILLARY MEASURE- The
term `ancillary measure' means a measure that is used to understand the impact
and interpret results of measurements under the program.
(5) ECOREGION- The term `ecoregion' means a large area of land and water that
contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities, including
similar land forms, climate, ecological processes, and vegetation.
(6) MERCURY EXPORT- The term `mercury export' means mercury flux from a watershed
to the corresponding water body, or from one water body to another water body
(such as a lake to a river), generally expressed as mass per unit of time.
(7) MERCURY FLUX- The term `mercury flux' means the rate of transfer of mercury
between ecosystem components (such as between water and air), or between portions
of ecosystem components, expressed in terms of mass per unit of time or mass per
unit of area per time.
(8) SURFACE SEDIMENT- The term
`surface sediment' means sediment in the uppermost 2 centimeters of a lakebed
SEC. 4. MONITORING PROGRAM.
(1) IN GENERAL- The Administrator, in consultation
with the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Director
of the United States Geological Survey, the Director of the National Park Service,
the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and
the heads of other appropriate Federal agencies, shall establish a national mercury
(2) PURPOSE- The purpose of the program
is to track--
(A) long-term trends in atmospheric
mercury concentrations and deposition; and
mercury levels in watersheds, surface water, and fish and wildlife in terrestrial,
freshwater, and coastal ecosystems in response to changing mercury emissions over
(A) IN GENERAL- In carrying out paragraph (1), not later than 1 year after the
date of enactment of this Act and in coordination with the Advisory Committee,
the Administrator shall select multiple monitoring sites representing multiple
ecoregions of the United States.
Locations of monitoring sites shall include National Parks, National Wildlife
Refuges, National Estuarine Research Reserve units, and sensitive ecological areas
in which substantive changes are expected from reductions in domestic mercury
(C) COLOCATION- Monitoring sites
shall be colocated with sites from other long-term environmental monitoring programs,
where practicable, including sites associated with the National Ecological Observatory
Network, Long-Term Ecological Research Network, and the National Atmospheric Deposition
(D) MONITORING PROTOCOLS- Not later
than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in coordination
with the Advisory Committee, shall establish and publish standardized measurement
protocols for the program under this Act.
COLLECTION AND DISTRIBUTION- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment
of this Act, the Administrator, in coordination with the Advisory Committee, shall
establish a centralized database for existing and newly collected environmental
mercury data that can be freely accessed on the Internet once data assurance and
quality standards established by the Administrator are met.
(1) IN GENERAL- Under the program, the Administrator,
in consultation with the appropriate Federal agencies and the Advisory Committee,
shall at a minimum carry out monitoring described in paragraphs (2) through (4)
at the locations selected under subsection (a)(3).
AIR AND WATERSHEDS- The program shall monitor long-term changes in mercury levels
and important ancillary measures in the air, including--
(A) the measurement and recording of wet and estimation of dry mercury deposition,
mercury flux, and mercury export;
(B) the measurement
and recording of the level of mercury reemitted from aquatic and terrestrial environments
into the atmosphere; and
(C) the measurement
of sulfur species and ancillary measurements to fully understand the cycling of
mercury through the ecosystem.
(3) WATER AND SOIL
CHEMISTRY- The program shall monitor long-term changes in mercury and methyl mercury
levels and important ancillary measures in the water and soil or sediments, including--
(A) extraction and analysis of soil and sediment cores;
(B) measurement and recording of total mercury and methyl mercury concentration,
and percent methyl mercury in surface sediments;
(C) measurement and recording of total mercury and methyl mercury concentration
in surface water; and
(D) measurement and recording
of total mercury and methyl mercury concentrations throughout the water column
(4) AQUATIC AND TERRESTRIAL ORGANISMS-
The program shall monitor long-term changes in mercury and methyl mercury levels
and important ancillary measures in the aquatic and terrestrial organisms, including--
(A) measurement and recording of total mercury and methyl mercury concentrations
(i) zooplankton and other invertebrates;
recreationally, or conservation relevant fish; and
(B) measurement and recording of total mercury concentrations in--
(i) selected insect- and fish-eating birds; and
(ii) measurement and recording of total mercury concentrations in selected insect-
and fish-eating mammals.
SEC. 5. ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
(a) Establishment- The Administrator, in consultation with the Director of the
United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Director of the United States Geological
Survey, the Director of the National Park Service, the Administrator of the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the heads of other appropriate Federal
agencies, shall establish a scientific advisory committee, to be known as the
`Mercury Monitoring Advisory Committee', to advise the Administrator and those
Federal agencies on the establishment, site selection, measurement, recording
protocols, and operation of the national mercury monitoring program.
(b) Membership- The Advisory Committee shall consist of scientists who are not
employees of the Federal Government, including--
(1) 3 scientists
appointed by the Administrator;
(2) 2 scientists appointed
by the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service;
(3) 2 scientists appointed by the Director of the United States Geological Survey;
(4) 2 scientists appointed by the Director of the National Park Service; and
(5) 2 scientists appointed by the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
SEC. 6. REPORTS AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE.
(a) Reports- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act and
every 2 years thereafter, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a report
on the program, including trend data.
(b) Assessment- At least
once every 4 years, the report required under subsection (a) shall include an
assessment of the reduction in mercury deposition rates that are required to be
achieved in order to prevent adverse human and ecological effects.
(c) Availability of Data- The Administrator shall make all data obtained under
this Act available to the public through a dedicated website and on written request.
7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There are authorized to be
appropriated to carry out this Act--
(1) $37,000,000 for fiscal
(2) $29,000,000 for fiscal year 2013; and
(3) $29,000,000 for fiscal year 2014.