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Press Release

May 3, 2005: For Immediate Release
Contact: Daryl Ditz, +1 202.785.8702;
Karen Perry Stillerman, +1.202.641.4998

U.S. States Outpacing Feds on Control of Global Pollutants

Report Reveals State Success While U.S. Sidelined at First POPs Treaty Meeting

Washington, DC – U.S. states are leading the way toward elimination of dangerous toxic pollutants, even while the federal government drags its feet. Four years after signing an ambitious international treaty to eliminate the worst global toxics, the Bush Administration has so far failed to ratify the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, or “POPs.” A new CIEL report demonstrates how some U.S. states are pursuing the same goal as the international community, taking action to protect environmental health from the dangers of POPs. The report is available at http://www.uspopswatch.org.

The report surveys a handful of state and local approaches to eliminate persistent pollutants, including dioxins, mercury, pesticides, brominated flame retardants, and others. The focus on Maine, California, and Washington State provides practical examples of policy tools including priority lists, chemical bans, restricted uses, and precaution, each of which is reflected in the Stockholm POPs treaty. States and communities in the United States are also on the front lines of environmental health tracking, pollution monitoring, and education about safer alternatives to dangerous chemicals.

According to Karen Perry Stillerman, author of U.S. States and the Global Toxics Treaty, “With their actions, the states are showing the world that Americans care about protecting public health and the global environment. The world needs to hear these real “good news” stories from the U.S., not just the Bush Administration’s empty rhetoric.”

Among the key findings:

“Despite the lack of federal leadership, U.S. states are moving towards the international goal of environmental health,” said Daryl Ditz, coordinator of US POPs Watch at the Center for International Environmental Law. “While we urge the United States to rejoin the global fight against chemical pollution, it’s essential to respect and defend state, local and tribal progress on POPs.”

The new report comes as more that 130 countries and 600 participants are meeting this week in Punta del Este, Uruguay to kickoff this pioneering global toxics treaty. (http://www.pops.int)

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is a nonprofit organization using international law and institutions to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society.  In Washington, DC, CIEL coordinates US POPs Watch, a campaign uniting people and organizations across the country in favor of positive U.S. actions on toxic chemicals. CIEL also houses the Secretariat for the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), a global alliance of 350 environmental and health advocates worldwide, and serves as IPEN’s legal advisor. (http://www.ciel.org/Chemicals/chem_POPs.html)

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