Tell the EPA: Protect our streams from selenium pollution
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
We’ve been busy this month advocating for a strong Stream Protection Rule. Now we need you to speak up on another issue threatening Appalachia: toxic selenium pollution.
This element is leaching out of mountaintop removal valley fills in devastating amounts, causing deformities in fish and endangering the health of our streams and communities.
The significance of the EPA’s decision on a new chronic selenium standard cannot be overstated. Selenium is toxic to fish and other wildlife at very low levels and is commonly found in wastewater from mountaintop removal mines. Once it is released into waterways, selenium enters the food chain and accumulates in fish, causing reproductive failure and deformities.
Officials in Kentucky have adopted, with the EPA’s approval, a standard with serious scientific flaws that does not sufficiently protect sensitive species. Without an enforceable federal limit, citizen monitoring and enforcement under the Clean Water Act will be seriously compromised.