West Virginia Environmental Council Action Alert
February 27, 2013
Public Hearing on Allowing More Toxic Selenium in WV Streams Has Been Rescheduled to Monday, March 4th – 2PM in the House Chambers.
Public Hearing on HB 2579
We are being told we will only have ONE hour for this Public Hearing – divided time between us and the coal industry. Allowing 1/2 hour for each side, so we will need to be selective as to who actually speaks. Let us know in advance if you are attending and wish to speak. We encourage attendance to show your support, written testimony, and citizen lobbying on this issue. Please – if you are so inclined, contact members on House Judiciary Committee today & Friday with your concerns about this bill. Key message: Do NOT pass HB 2579. This bill is on a “fast track” and this will be our only opportunity to stop this legislation on the House side before it is referred to the full House of Delegates.
Public Hearing on Allowing More Toxic Selenium in WV Streams
When: 1:00 P.M., Thursday, February 28, 2013
Where: House Judiciary Committee Meeting Room (Room 410M)
HB 2579, introduced just six days ago, would eliminate the compliance schedules for coal companies to meet the current EPA water quality standard for toxic selenium, and mandate that the Department of Environmental Protection issue new “state-specific” selenium standards that could be weaker than the current EPA standards.
This bill is being pushed by the WV Coal Association and has been put on the fast track for adoption by the House Judiciary Committee. However, Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Miley (D-Harrison) has granted our request for a public hearing on this terrible piece of legislation.
Selenium is a naturally occurring element that ends up in rivers and streams when rock and soil from mountaintop removal sites are discarded. In small amounts, it is harmless, but some studies have found that it is toxic to aquatic life and humans in larger amounts. Recent studies have found fish samples taken from Mud River, close to a large mountaintop removal mine site, exhibiting deformities.
The public hearing is your chance to tell legislators that you do NOT want MORE selenium in West Virginia rivers and streams, and that coal companies must be required to remove it from their stream discharges.
We hope to see you there.
WVEC Lobby Team