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Extend Mercury Deadline

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Somehow it slipped under the radar screen.

A warehouse near Tooele could become the central repository for the nation’s vast stockpile of mercury – that liquid metal best known for its use in thermometers.

Despite a series of public hearings nationally, including one in Tooele in June, there’s been little general public discussion on an Environmental Impact Statement put out by the Defense National Stockpile Center.

According to the EIS, the government’s mercury stockpile is currently stored at four locations around the country. The idea is to consolidate storage at a central location. The Utah Industrial Depot near Tooele is one of the sites being considered.

Mercury isn’t the most dangerous element in the world. It can probably be stored safely in huge quantities without unnecessarily endangering the public.

Still, Tooele County’s hazardous materials planner, Harry Shinton, says a lot of questions remain and he claims the government hasn’t been forthcoming with answers. Shinton says more public input is needed, along with better communication and information from the federal government about the mercury storage proposal.

KSL joins Shinton in urging an extension of the July 18 deadline for public comment. If Tooele is to become the nation’s central repository for nearly 5,000 metric tons of mercury, the issue ought to be fully discussed.

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