PANNA: Action Alert: Tell the U.S. Congress to Block Bill Undermining POPs Treaty


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Action Alert

Tell the U.S. Congress to Block Bill Undermining POPs Treaty
March 24, 2004

The Bush administration and its allies in the chemical and pesticide industries are pushing legislation forward that will seriously undermine implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs Treaty). If you live in the U.S., please help us stop this legislation by taking the two easy steps outlined below.

1 - CALL your U.S. Senators (Switchboard: 202-224-3121) and U.S. Representative (Switchboard: 202-225-3121) and ask them to block the current draft bill moving through Congress that would cripple U.S. implementation of the Stockholm Convention; and 2) support better legislation that would allow full U.S. implementation of the Convention. See the sample letter below for points you can make on your call.

2 - EMAIL your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative by cutting and pasting the sample letter below and sending it to them directly. Use the links provided to find their email addresses.

BACKGROUND:

More than 50 countries have now ratified the historic Stockholm Convention, an international treaty designed to eliminate a class of dangerous chemicals that are toxic, travel long distances, persist in the environment, and build up the food chain. The treaty will ban 12 POPs, including nine pesticides once used widely in the U.S., and includes provisions for taking future action on additional POPs, including several pesticides still in widespread use in the U.S.

The POPs treaty comes into force on May 17, 2004 and requires that a first meeting of ratifying countries be held within a year. To fully participate in decision-making under the treaty, the U.S. must ratify the Convention 90 days before the first meeting takes place.

The Bush administration wants to be at the table as implementation of this sweeping treaty moves forward, and is eager to ratify the Convention before the deadline. Congress must pass implementing legislation bringing U.S. laws into accord with the treaty before the Senate can move forward with ratifying the Convention. Unfortunately, the draft implementing legislation now being pushed through Congress by the administration and industry backers is dangerously flawed.

More specifically, the version of this bill that emerged from the House Agriculture Committee would amend existing law (i.e. the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act or FIFRA) in a way that could make it more rather than less difficult for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to take action on new POPs pesticides identified under the treaty. It also allows U.S. EPA to ignore treaty decisions when considering domestic action on new POPs pesticides, and does not require U.S. EPA to take any action at all when a new POPs chemical is listed under the treaty. For a more detailed explanation of why we believe this bill is fatally flawed, see the NGO statement (see link below) presented to U.S. EPA and key congressional staff on March 8, 2004.

PAN together with environmental and public health groups around the country are calling on Congress to block this bill and support legislation supporting full implementation of the Stockholm Convention, AND two important related treaties, the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and the Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP).

For more information on PAN's work to eliminate POPs pesticides, visit http://www.panna.org/campaigns/pops.html. See also http://www.ciel.org/Publications/POPs_Announce_Congress_Mar04.pdf for more information on the current debate in Congress. For a current list of countries that have ratified the Stockholm Convention, see http://www.pic.int, the Rotterdam Convention, see http://www.pic.int.

NGO Statement to U.S. EPA: http://www.ciel.org/POPs/fifra_epa_mar904.html

SAMPLE LETTER

Copy the text below, then click on these links to find and email your Senators and Representative, pasting the sample letter and adding your personalized message.

For an email address for your U.S. Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

For an email address for you U.S. Representatives U.S. Representative http://clerk.house.gov/members/index.php

Date
The Honorable Senator/Representative ________
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator/Representative _______:

Please do not support the version of implementing legislation for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) emerging from the House Agriculture Committee. This billæwhich has been developed by the Bush administration to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)æseverely undermines the spirit of the historic Stockholm Convention by making it more difficult rather than easier for EPA to take action on pesticides that are identified as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) under the treaty.

POPs are a class of particularly dangerous chemicals that are toxic, move great distances via wind and water, persist in the environment and bio-accumulate as they move up the food chain. In enacting the Stockholm Convention, the global community has recognized that these chemicals pose a worldwide threat to human health and the environment.

The bill now moving through Congress allows the U.S. to ignore decisions to target new chemicals for global elimination, and does not require EPA to take any action at all when a new POPs chemical is listed under the treaty - even though the U.S. will be a full participant in those treaty decisions.

As a concerned constituent I urge you to support new implementing legislation that allows the U.S. to fully implement the Stockholm Convention. Effective legislation to implement this treaty in the U.S. must truly protect the public from pesticides that are identified as dangerous POPs chemicals now or in the future.

Thank you for your consideration,

YOUR NAME


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