RENO, Nev. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says overall releases of toxic chemicals to the environment by companies in Nevada decreased 8 percent in 2009 compared with the previous year.
The agency, in its annual Toxics Release Inventory released Thursday, says mining companies accounted for 97 percent of the pollution in 2009.
The EPA says releases of mercury and mercury compounds in Nevada decreased 3 percent to 5.2 million pounds in 2009.
But Justin Hayes, of the Idaho Conservation League, thinks the most significant finding reported by the EPA was a 50 percent reduction in airborne mercury emissions from Nevada gold mines.
He says that's good news for people in Idaho and Utah living down wind of the mines and facing a health risk from them.