Don't allow more toxic selenium in our water!

Why is the new standard flawed?

Dangerous levels of selenium are showing up in more and more of our streams below coal mining operations. Even at low levels, selenium causes deformities and death in fish, and since it bio-accumulates in tissue it will work its way up the food chain.

Despite this, state officials want to increase the acute selenium limit by more than tenfold, and do away with the existing chronic limit and replace it with an unenforceable fish tissue test. Already state officials acknowledge that they are not enforcing the Clean Water Act, and this would make it more difficult to ever do so.

We should be working to make our water cleaner and safer, not sacrificing this precious resource for coal industry profits.

Kentuckians know the value of clean, safe water. It’s critical to healthy communities and our economic well-being.

Unfortunately, earlier this year, the Kentucky Division of Water pushed through a weakened and unenforceable water quality standard for selenium. This dangerous pollutant has become a problem in streams below strip mining operations, and the Beshear administration is trying to protect coal companies from liability and expensive cleanup costs.

And they changed the standard through a process that had little public input and no public hearings.

In November 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved much of the state's weakened standard. In December 2013 a number of groups including KFTC challenged EPA's decision.

Pigeon Roost stream

Issue Area(s):