WVRC Action Alert

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West Virginia Rivers Coalition
329 Davis Avenue, Suite 7
Elkins, WV 26241
Office: (304) 637-7201 
Selenium Bill that would Weaken Water Quality in Senate – Contact Senators ASAP
Last week on Friday the House of Delegates passed HB 2579 the “selenium bill” by a vote of 99-0 and advanced the bill to the Senate.

If this bill becomes law, it paves the way for DEP to weaken toxic selenium water quality standards in WV streams.  In addition, it allows coal companies to get off the hook for treating the selenium added to state waters from their surface mining operations.

Selenium, a naturally occurring element found in many rocks and soils, is an antioxidant that is needed in VERY small amounts for good health.  But in SLIGHTLY larger amounts, selenium can be highly toxic.  In humans, it can cause hair loss, nail brittleness, fatigue and neurological problems such as numbness.  In the long term, selenium exposure can cause damage to the liver, the kidneys, and to the nervous and circulatory systems. People are exposed to toxic levels of selenium by eating contaminated fish or by drinking water that exceeds Safe Drinking Water Act. Fish cannot tolerate high selenium levels before exhibiting selenium impacts. Numerous studies and reports, including DEP’s own 2010 study have found alarming levels of selenium in fish downstream from large surface mines. These studies also found gross deformities caused by selenium in fish.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:  Contact members of the WV Senate today – and all this week.  Ask them to OPPOSE HB 2579.  Contact information can be found at
Also:  You can contact House of Delegate members and let them know your disappointment with their vote on HB 2579 Friday that puts our rivers at risk for more pollution.
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