20090525 gm paint peeling 18
Paint peels from the GM logo painted on a chimney at the shuttered GM assembly plant in Janesville, Wis. - 


Bill Radke: The new General Motors is dropping out of a program designed to prevent mercury pollution from scrapped cars. This comes just as hundreds of thousands of cars are being junked through the Cash for Clunkers program. Tamara Keith has the story.

Tamara Keith: The End of Life Vehicle Solutions program encourages junk yards to remove mercury switches from vehicles before they're sent to the shredder. The switches are collected and recycled and it's all paid for with contributions from the major automakers. These switches were used in trunk lights and anti-lock breaks in the 80s and 90s. But if they're not removed, when the cars are melted down, toxic mercury is released into the air.

GM was a major contributor. But since filing for bankruptcy, the automaker hasn't paid its dues. The reasoning -- bankruptcy gave GM a clean slate. As in, the "new GM" never made cars with mercury switches. The program's director told the Associated Press the timing with Cash for Clunkers now in full force, is a real problem.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.