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Action Alert to Save Producer Responsibility...

Don't Trade Away our Health and the Environment!
Your immediate assistance is needed to defend an important new 
initiative that will help protect environmental health and safety by 
phasing out 
persistent, bio-accumulative toxics and by cleaning up the life 
cycle of computer manufacturing and other electronic and electrical 
This new "take-back" Directive, developed by the European 
Commission, focuses on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment 
(WEEE) and 
is designed to address the growing piles of electronic junk. Besides 
phasing out toxic chemicals, the directive will require producers of 
electronic and electrical equipment to assume financial and legal 
for their products throughout their entire life cycle; it also 
establishes a framework for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). 
However, the US Trade Representative (USTR) -- at the request of the 
American Electronics Association (AEA), the largest trade 
association of the electronics industry with more than 3000 members -- is 
a new lobbying attack on the WEEE Directive. 
The AEA is using international trade law as a weapon to dictate 
global health and environmental policy to protect the economic interests of 
its members (Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Motorola, etc.). In a 15 page legal 
position paper, the AEA asserts the proposed phase-out of the listed 
persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic materials -- lead, mercury, 
cadmium, hexavalent chromium and halogenated flame retardants -- and the 
provision requiring at least 5% recycled plastics in electronic and
products are "illegal" and violate World Trade Organization (WTO) 

Rather than working to defend and protect our health and environment, 
the USTR staff is supporting the AEA's position in discussions with other 
US and international agencies. 
European NGOs such as the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), ANPED 
(the Northern Alliance for Sustainability) and other environmental health 
and consumer organizations in Europe have asked us to help protect the 
WEEE Directive. By supporting their initiative, we are fighting for 
improved global standards for everyone. If adopted in Europe, this Directive 
will help our efforts for similar legislation in the US to reduce toxics 
and promote clean production. It is crucial that US activists involved in 
toxics, waste, recycling, incineration, corporate accountability, 
consumer advocacy, international trade, human rights and/or democracy issues 
make our voices heard before the US government adopts the myopic views of 
the U.S. computer industry on these important environmental issues. 
TAKE ACTION. Time is of the essence. With the intensive lobbying 
efforts of the electronics industry, the US is formulating its position to 
oppose this directive. Please take a few moments to fax or send a letter on 
your own letterhead to Vice-President Gore and tell him to bring an 
immediate halt to the USTR's lobbying activities. You can use the enclosed 
text as a model. Please also send (or e-mail) a copy to Silicon Valley 
Toxics Coalition (svtc@igc.org or fax 408-287-6771). We will add your name 
to the action alert on our website. We may also publish ads in national 
media. Thanks very much for your support. 
For additional background on this issue:
**find a copy of the letter to Pres. Clinton and signatories at 
**find a copy of the letter to the European Commission at 
**find a copy of the draft directive on our website at 
**view the position of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) at 
**view the position of the AEA at 
White House Fax Line - 202-456-2461 
Vice President Gore's e-mail - vice-president@whitehouse.gov 
USTR - Ms. Charlene Barshefsky, US Trade Representative - fax 
202-395-3911; e-mail: cbarshefsky@ustr.gov 
US EPA - Ms. Carol Browner, Administrator - fax: 2002-260-0279; 
e-mail: Browner.Carol@epamail.epa.gov 
To contact your senators - http://www.senate.gov/senator/index.html 
To contact your representative - http://www.house.gov/writerep/ 

Dear Vice-President Gore:
We are writing to request your immediate assistance to help defend an 
important environmental initiative, the draft European Commission 
Directive on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). 
This draft directive -- which is designed to address the growing problem 
of obsolete electronic equipment -- will help protect environmental 
health and safety on both sides of the Atlantic by phasing out some of the 
worst toxic chemicals, cleaning up the life-cycle of computer 
manufacturing, promoting Producer Responsibility and encouraging similar
Production initiatives outside Europe, particularly within the United States.
However, rather than defending and protecting our health and 
environment, the US Trade Representative (USTR) is lobbying on behalf of the 
electronics industry to oppose this directive as a barrier to 
international trade. We ask that you intervene to put an immediate 
stop to the USTR's lobbying activities. 
We have learned that the American Electronics Association (AEA) -- 
whose members include Microsoft, Intel, IBM, and Motorola -- is using 
international trade law as a weapon to dictate global health and 
environmental policy. In a 15 page legal position paper, the AEA 
asserts that various provisions of the WEEE are "illegal" under international 
trade law and, therefore, violate World Trade Organization (WTO) 
In his March 15, 1999 statement at a high-level WTO symposium on 
trade and the environment, President Clinton said, "We must do more to ensure 
that spirited economic competition among nations never becomes a race to 
the bottom. We should be leveling environmental protections up, not 
down." The draft WEEE directive is an excellent opportunity to place these 
words into action. 
We urge you to join us in working to make sure that weaker 
environmental standards are not forced upon the European Union by unfair 
trade laws. At stake in this controversy are three vital environmental 
1. Producers must be ultimately responsible for their products. The 
WEEE Directive's premise is that the producer of all electronic products 
and electrical equipment must be financially responsible for managing 
their products throughout their lifecycle, including at the end of life. 
The public should not have to pay extra taxes for waste management costs 
of hazardous materials that producers choose to use in electrical and 
electronic equipment. 
2. Trade Associations must not be allowed to dictate environmental 
health policy. It is vital to support the WEEE directive's provisions for 
encouraging the recycling of plastics and phasing out toxic chemicals 
that are persistent in the environment and known health hazards. We must 
leel environemtnal standards up, not down. This will help clean up the 
entire product chain, alleviate worker health problems, and reduce hazardous 
emissions to the environment not only in Europe, but in America as 
3. U.S. policy must represent all of us, not just large corporations. The 
USTR has no right to lobby on behalf of corporations against the 
interests of the American public. We are offended to learn that the U.S. 
Representative (USTR) and the American Electronics Association (AEA) 
are using the World Trade Organization (WTO) to undermine important and 
beneficial environmental initiatives. 
The USTR is pushing the US government to take a position opposing 
this regulation behind closed doors and without the benefit of public 
notice and comment period required for proposed new regulations under US 
laws. Since US law requires that the federal government involve the public 
in setting domestic environmental standards, surely the federal 
government should also involve the public before attacking the positive 
environmental standards of other countries that will directly benefit the 
We call on you to reign in USTR's interference in the legitimate 
environmental decisions of the European Commission. Given the direct 
health and environmental impacts of the WEEE Directive on both sides 
of the Atlantic, the US government should refrain from any further 
official comment on this initiative until it has consulted all interested 
parties through public notice and comment rule-making procedures. 
Yours sincerely 
(please add your name and organization here)
cc: USTR Representative Charlene Barshefsky 
EPA Administrator Carol Browner 
US Senators 
US Representatives 
ANPED The Northern Alliance for Sustainability 
P.O. Box 12111 
The Netherlands 
Tel. +31 (0)30 2310300 
Fax +31 (0)30 2340878 
visiting address: Oudegracht 312, 3511 PK Utrecht

Ogolnopolskie Towarzystwo Zagospodarowania Odpadow "3R" 
Waste Prevention Association "3R" 
ul. Slawkowska 12, 31-014 Krakow, Poland 
tel./fax: (+48 12) 422-22-64, 422-21-47 
e-mail: office@otzo.most.org.pl 
URL: http://www.rec.org/poland/wpa/ 
NGO db: http://gemini.most.org.pl/catalog_ngo/