Bills ‘mussel’ through

Policy-making committees in the state Assembly recently have given the green light to several environmental-protection bills, which will now move on for further legislative approval.

The purpose of Assembly Bill 909, one of five bills up for consideration, is to monitor and remove mercury in the Delta. Local Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, author of the bill, noted the health threat posed to people, especially women and young children, who eat fish contaminated with the element. If approved, funding would include grants for mercury analysis and control studies in the Delta.

Another bill on the table, Assembly Bill 1683, would give the Department of Fish and Game the authority to prevent the spread of quagga mussels, a highly invasive species that threatens ecosystems and was found in the state earlier this year. First detected in the United States in the ’80s, the mussels caused billions of dollars of damage in the Great Lakes.