Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-24.9
Mercury Reduction and Education Act

SECTION 23-24.9-2.1

§ 23-24.9-2.1 Oversight and systems planning.

(a) The general assembly further finds:

(1) That reduction and elimination of health and environmental threats from mercury is a highly complex undertaking requiring cooperation among policy makers, public health and environmental officials and advocates, private businesses from diverse industries and sectors, consumers, and the general public within Rhode Island and depending on actions in other states and at the federal level;

(2) That systems planning is critical to the smooth, effective, and efficient implementation of programs to reduce and eliminate health and environmental threats from mercury in Rhode Island;

(3) That the implementation of the provisions of this chapter between July 2001 and July 2003 has been incomplete and partial and has given rise to unintended consequences; and

(4) That additional time is required to study how to make the provisions of this chapter more efficient and effective and to provide for needed systems planning.

(b)(1) There is hereby created a fourteen (14) member commission on oversight and planning for mercury hazard reduction and elimination with the following membership: nine (9) members to be appointed by the governor; four (4) representatives of private business; one of whom shall be an engineer with expertise in manufacturing processes and pollution prevention; one of whom shall be an expert on the effects of mercury on public health and/or the environment; one of whom shall be a representative of consumer interests, and two (2) of whom shall be representatives of advocacy organizations, and five (5) of whom shall be ex officio, voting members: the director of the department of environmental management, the director of the department of health, the executive of the Rhode Island economic development corporation, the executive director of the Rhode Island resource recovery corporation, and the executive director of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns. The ex-officio members may designate an alternate in writing who shall have voting privileges. The members of the commission shall not receive compensation services. From the membership of the commission, the governor shall designate a chairperson.

(2) The purposes of the commission shall be to study the system for reducing and eliminating mercury hazards in Rhode Island, including, but not limited to:

(A) Identifying current and projected sources of mercury hazards;

(B) Evaluating programs and efforts to reduce the sources in a cost-effective and efficient manner that does not place Rhode Island at a disadvantage with other states;

(C) Building on effective efforts in other states and achieving a consistency with other states in terms of approach and timing of implementation; and

(D) Determining the availability and effectiveness to consumers and the public of programs, facilities for disposal and recycling mercury-added products, and education about mercury-added products and mercury hazards. On or before March 1, 2004, and on or before September 1, 2004, the commission shall present to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the president of the senate an interim progress report informing them of the scope and progress of the commission's work, to date. The commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the governor, the speaker of the house, and the president of the senate by January 1, 2005, which recommendation shall include such proposals as the commission deems necessary or appropriate for amendments to this chapter.

(3) The commission shall meet at the call of the chair, and shall have the power to adopt bylaws for its organization and appoint such officers and committees as it deems appropriate.

(4) All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information, documentary or otherwise, and such support and assistance as the commission deems necessary or desirable. The director of administration shall arrange meeting space for and organizational support to the commission.

(5) The commission shall terminate effective July 1, 2005.

(c) In order to provide time for the commission to complete its work, for planning and implementing such changes to programs as may be proposed, and for enacting such changes as may be desirable, that effective dates for implementing the provisions of this chapter pertaining to phase-outs and exemptions (§ 23-24.9-7), labeling (§ 23-24.9-8), disposal bans (§ 23-24.9-9), collection of mercury-added products (§ 23-24.9-10), disclosure (§ 23-24.9-11), and violations (§ 23-24.9-16) shall be July 1, 2005, unless a later date is provided for in the section, and no actions to enforce said provisions may be undertaken until July 1, 2005, or after, provided, however that voluntary use of the provisions shall be facilitated and allowed.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2003, ch. 235, § 2; P.L. 2003, ch. 328, § 2.)