With support from the mining industry and opposition from environmentalists, state regulators in Nevada have approved the first regulations of their kind in the nation for airborne mercury emissions at precious metal mines.
The state Environmental Commission unanimously approved the
regulations tonight as a replacement for a voluntary program
currently in place at Nevada's largest gold mines.
Leo Drozdoff is the administrator of the Nevada Division of
Environmental Protection that proposed the rules. He says they take
control of mercury emissions to a new level.
The rules require more monitoring, testing and reporting of
emissions at industrial mines in the state.
Critics argue they would effectively rubber-stamp the status quo
and provide little actual protection of public health and the
environment. They wanted mandated reductions and/or limits on
Elyssa Rosen of the Reno-based Great Basin Mine Watch says under
the new regs, companies will be left to monitor themselves.
Or, as Crescent Valley rancher Lee Louden put it: "They've got
the fox guarding the hen house."