General Motors finally caved in to pressure from public-interest groups, government officials and state agencies and has agreed to cover the costs of keeping mercury from its cars out of the atmosphere. That’s the good news: the environmental community and our recycling industry and policymaker allies have managed to back GM down on an issue that is crucial to public health.
But here’s the bad news: GM has yet to make this decision permanent – and step back from the entire idea that it can declare “environmental bankruptcy.” Without GM’s support, the ELVS mercury switch recycling program will collapse, potentially sending tons of mercury into the environment, particularly now that the nation’s junk yards are stretched to capacity dealing with the influx of end-of-life vehicles from the cash-for-clunkers program. MPP fully intends to keep the pressure on the new GM to take long-term responsibility for its environmental legacy. See the New York Times for additional details.