Call for the Streams and Health Today

HR2579 Meme 3

2 p.m. update: HR2579 has passed in the House.  An identical bill, SB 472, will be considered by the Senate. Please call your senators to tell them not to support SB 472.

HR2579 is being fast tracked in the West Virginia House of Delegates under the guise of “stream protection,” when in fact this bill will weaken current selenium standards and allow the coal industry to discharge more selenium from mountaintop removal sites into streams. This bill is scheduled for its third reading in the House soon and may be voted on possibly as early as today.  This bill is a blatant disregard for life and safety, in another attempt by state legislators to appease the coal industry.

Proponents of this bill claim there is no evidence of selenium impacts on West Virginia waters, yet a study published in the peer-reviewed Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011 and a 2010 report from the WV Department of Environmental Protection(among others) show evidence that selenium is having major adverse effects on West Virginia streams.  We cannot afford to weaken selenium regulations.

Excessive amounts of selenium can harm aquatic life. When animals absorb or accumulate extremely high concentrations of selenium, that can cause reproductive failure and birth defects.

In humans, health impacts can vary from brittle hair and deformed nails, to rashes, heat, swelling of the skin and severe pains. When selenium ends up in the eyes people experience burning, irritation and tearing. Selenium bioaccumulates in the body tissues of organisms, magnifying up the food chain.

Please call your delegate today to tell her or him  to vote no on HR2579, to protect human health and safety.  Remind your delegate s/he is supposed to work for the people, not the coal industry.

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The Author

Dustin White

Dustin White is a project coordinator with OVEC and a lifelong WV resident. Dustin grew up in the so called “coalfields” of Southern WV where he has deep multi-generational roots and now lives in Charleston WV. His work with OVEC started as a volunteer, fighting the extreme form of coal mining known as mountaintop removal and other coal mining related issues, lobbying for new state cemetery protection laws, and more. Now, on staff, Dustin’s work focuses on stopping the new threat of the petrochemical monstrosity known as the Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub in the Ohio Valley/Appalachian region. Dustin hopes to one day see a Appalachia where the people and places he love are no longer exploited and sacrificed for the fossil fuel industry’s short-term profit.
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