On 20th Anniversary of NAFTA, It’s Time to Ban All Exports of SLABs from the US to Mexico Business Wire ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- December 17, 2012 Diane Cullo, Director of SLAB Watchdog released the following statement commemorating the 20^th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement and calling for action to end Spent Lead Acid Battery (SLAB) exports from the United States to Mexico: “Twenty years ago today, President Bush, Mexican President Salinas and Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney signed the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement amid strong concerns about the treaty’s environmental effects. While NAFTA redefined the way North America conducts commerce, paving the way for economic development in Mexico and opening new markets for American and Canadian products, it is clear the concerns about the environmental effects were not unfounded. Last month the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a tri-governmental environmental working group of Mexico, Canada, and the United States established by NAFTA, released a scathing report on SLAB exports. The report cited the failure by the Mexican government to establish an adequate regulatory structure to prevent workplace and environmental contamination on par with those laws found in the United States and Canada. Despite more than 750 million pounds of dead car, truck and other lead acid batteries being sent to Mexico each year, the CEC report noted that none of the Mexican facilities possessed the environmental or worker protections required for regulatory approval in the United States or Canada. The report specifically noted the abject lack of data detailing harmful lead emissions and information about the blood lead levels of recycling facility workers. The failure of NAFTA’s mechanisms to protect workers and the environment on the issue of battery exportation were laid bare recently when the United States General Services Agency (GSA) tried to convene an industry stakeholder meeting to establish recycling standards for SLABs produced from government sources. Because GSA simply does not know if the hundreds of thousands of SLABs from the federal vehicle fleet and government sources are recycled in substandard Mexican facilities, GSA, working with ASTM International, sought a process to establish better standards for Mexican recyclers owned and operated by U.S. companies like Johnson Controls. A strong industry contingent, led by Johnson Controls, the battery trade associations, and other opponents of environmental protection voted to stop the ASTM effort, signaling their unwillingness to even consider fact-based discussion of this critical issue. Twenty years later, NAFTA can easily be considered a success for world trade, but as environmental issues continue to arise more must be done to regulate hazardous waste that is traded between NAFTA members. Because the violators will not voluntarily regulate themselves, SLAB Watchdog calls on the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico to end SLAB exports.” For more information on the issue of SLAB exports or for detailed background on the ASTM process or CEC report, please feel free to contact Diane Cullo by phone at 703-244-5891, or via e-mail at email@example.com. SLAB Watchdog is committed to the safe and domestic recycling of spent lead-acid batteries (SLABs) and operates off of four basic principles: (1) Recycling of SLABs must occur in the United States by facilities that utilize the most advanced technologies that minimize environmental damage; (2) Transportation of SLABs must comply with federal regulations regarding the loading and bracing of SLABs to avoid damage and toxic spills; (3) Collection facilities should only use battery brokers who sign a memorandum of agreement committing to use domestic recyclers; (4) Federal, state and local governments must establish protocol to ensure that all SLABs generated by their vehicle fleets are recycled at domestic facilities. Stay connected: Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook Contact: SLAB Watchdog Diane Cullo, 703-244-5891 firstname.lastname@example.org
On 20th Anniversary of NAFTA, It’s Time to Ban All Exports of SLABs from the US to Mexico
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