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Re: Action Alert to Save Producer Responsibility...

There is a statement in this item which is at best misleading.  The action
of the US trade representative would not particularly benefit Microsoft,
since Microsoft is not a manufacturer of hardware, to which this standard
would apply.

People who wish to crusade should first get their facts straight.  Otherwise
you unfortunately hurt your own cause.

-----Original Message-----
From: Pawel Gluszynski <uugluszy@cyf-kr.edu.pl>
To: p2tech@great-lakes.net <p2tech@great-lakes.net>
Date: Friday, April 16, 1999 10:53 AM
Subject: 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
>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
>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
>However, rather than defending and protecting our health and
>environment, the US Trade Representative (USTR) is lobbying on behalf of
>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
>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
>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
>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/