US misses mercury vote due to government shutdown

October 10, 2013

The United States sent a four-person delegation to Japan for the United Nations meeting to launch the mercury treaty. But all of them had to leave before signing it, reportedly because of the government shutdown.

“No one from the U.S. is here and no one from the U.S. government will walk to the front of the room and sign the treaty in front of the global community,” said Joseph DiGangi, senior science and technical advisor at IPEN, an international consortium of environmental groups involved in the treaty negotiations.

DiGangi said the State Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials were recalled back to the United States on Tuesday.

India also was absent from the proceedings, which culminate four years of negotiations.Thursday’s event was mostly ceremonial; each nation has a year to sign the pact.

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