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In addition to banning the export of elemental mercury from the United States as of Jan. 1, 2013, the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008 (Public Law No. 110-414) required the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a facility for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury generated within the U.S.

On Dec. 3, 2019, DOE signed a Record of Decision (ROD) for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury to address the federal government’s responsibility as required by Section 5 of the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Public Law 114 – 182). This ROD announces DOE’s decision to store up to 6,800 metric tons (7,480 tons) of elemental mercury in existing buildings at the Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) site near Andrews, Texas.  

On Dec. 18, 2019, DOE signed a final rule on elemental mercury storage fee. Subsequently, two complaints were filed in United States District Court challenging the validity of the Fee Rule and the ROD, among other claims. A settlement has been reached that resolves one complaint. DOE has acknowledged that the Fee Rule contains errors, omissions, and unclear statements, and DOE’s motion to vacate and remand the Fee Rule was granted by the court on Sept. 5, 2020.

On October 6, 2020, DOE issued an Amended Record of Decision that modifies the ROD to withdraw the facility designation until the process to establish a final Fee Rule is complete.

On Nov. 18, 2020, DOE issued a Federal Register Notice announcing the opportunity for consultation with DOE on matters pertaining to the assessment and collection of a fee for providing long-term management and storage of elemental mercury under the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008, as amended. The consultation is intended for persons who are likely to deliver elemental mercury to a DOE-designated facility for long-term management and storage and other interested persons. There will be internet-based webinar (WebEx) meetings conducted to facilitate the consultations on Dec. 1, 2020, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (EST), and Dec. 8, 2020, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. (EST). For more information and instructions on how to submit written comments on or before Dec. 15, 2020 refer to the Federal Register Notice for Consultation.

Major DOE Actions