ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
October 13, 2009
New York State Capitol - Room 306
Mercury, a naturally-occurring element, is found in air, water and soil. It has been used in the production of cement and a number of household items including thermometers, switches and light bulbs, as well as in batteries, novelty toys and some product packaging. Mercury is also a component of coal, with coal-burning power plants representing the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions to the air.
Studies have found that mercury exposure at high levels can harm the human brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system, with infants and children especially susceptible. At high levels of exposure, mercury can lead to death, reduced reproduction, abnormal behavior and slower growth and development in fish and animals. The United States Geological Survey released a study of mercury contamination in United States' streams. The study included 291 streams nationwide and tested more than 1,000 fish. Mercury was found in each fish sampled. This hearing will examine what measures can be taken to reduce mercury exposure.
Please see the next page for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony. Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to ten minutes duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.
Member of Assembly
Committee on Environmental Conservation
What is the nature and extent of mercury pollution in New York?
What steps should be taken to reduce mercury exposure?
It has been suggested that mercury reductions in New York will not result in a direct environmental benefit due to the presence of emissions from other states and countries. Please explain whether you agree or disagree with this statement and why.
Please explain the costs and benefits of mercury reductions.
Are the existing provisions regarding the inclusion of mercury in products such as packaging, batteries and novelty products adequate, or are more restrictions necessary?