Assemblywoman Lois Wolk has introduced the Mercury Monitoring and Remediation Act (AB 2901). The bill would establish the Mercury Monitoring and Remediation Fund for grants for mercury monitoring, projects that reduce mercury levels, and assistance to local public entities and nonprofit organizations for the development and implementation of mercury monitoring and remediation plans. The bill appropriates no funds, and no funding source for the program is identified.
The bill responds to concerns that eating fish that contains elevated levels of methyl mercury may harm the health of people who consume large quantities, especially women of childbearing age and children, as well as wildlife. It notes that elevated mercury in California waterways is primarily the result of mining activities from the latter half of the 19th century and natural erosion from mercury-enriched watersheds, and not the result of recent or current local actions.
The Sierra Nevada range, being home to the gold strike, has many documented problems with mercury leftover from its use in the mining process. For more information about this bill visit the California legislative site: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/ and look up AB 2901.