Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

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October 2009

Major News: EPA May Do Its Job!
DEP Biologist: Agency Chief Huffmans Testimony to Congress Was Ill Informed

Thinking About Your Legacy: An Open Letter from Dr. Ken Hechler

Reflecting on EPAs Announcement
JOBS in the Coalfields, the Right Way
Families in Mingo Co. Sue Over Flooding
Asking the Highest Court in the Land to Hear Our Case
Dear Friends at OVEC
Lindytown - Threats, Dead Horses and Shattered Dreams As the Draglines Creep Ever Closer
Lindytown - From Nice Little Mountain Town to Virtual Ghost Town
EPA Moves to Block WVs Largest MTR Mining Permit
Corps Approves Controversial Permit Despite EPAs Objections
The Trail of Tears - History Is Repeating Itself in WV
Policy Efforts on Family Cemetery Protection Issues
Join the Cemetery Protection Group And Help Find Long-Term Solutions
Awareness is Where Its At
Please Pray for Webster County
Cook Family Cemeteries: Ancestors No Longer Rest In Peace Due to Mountaintop Removal Mining
Coal Slurry: New York Times Nails Clean Water Act Crimes (Many) and Punishment (None)
Victory! Public Water Lines Finally Coming to Prenter
Goodbye Patricia, Welcome Stephanie! - New Organizer Joins SSP Effort
WVU Studying Effects of Coal Slurry Injection on Health
Working to Reduce Coal Prep Plant Air Pollution
Six Southern WV Communities to Benefit from EPA Grant
Judge Thornsbury Disqualified from Presiding in Slurry Injection Case
Coal Country - the movie: Film Debuts To Packed Crowd After Concerns Almost Cancel Showing
Help End MTR and Help Coal Country Have a Party!
OVEC: Power With!
What Happens In Valleys Is As Important As What Happens On Mountain Peaks
Plundering Appalachia - The Book, Is Here!
Chemicals and Their Dangers Force People From Kanawha Valley
Clean Elections - Saving WV From Future Scandals
Why Manchin and Co. Dont Care About Health in the Coalfields
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Carbon Tax: Our ACES in the Hole for Real Change
Report: Global Warming Causes 300,000 Deaths A Year, Toll to Increase
Remembering Conley Branch - May It Always Be In My Heart
United Against MTR:
Red Bandanas, Dreadlocks, Clean-Cut, Old Folks and Young
TV News Fails to Cover Mountaintop Removal Well, Or At All
Nominations for OSM Chief
University Divesting of Massey Stock, Others May Follow
Toxic Legislation: Selenium at the Legislature; OVEC Appeal to EPA

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

Winds of Change Newsletter, October 2009     See sidebar for table of contents

Toxic Legislation: Selenium at the Legislature; OVEC Appeal to EPA

The coal industry in West Virginia predicted a year in advance that it would not be able to meet the EPAs selenium effluent standards by April 2010. And because DEP Secretary Randy Huffman initially stated that he opposed any extension (a position he was unable to maintain for long), the industry went to its friends in the Legislature for a two-year extension, to last until 2012.

This process began in 2003, and DEP stated that there have been at least two extensions previously. Some of the legislators were curious as to what progress has been made in meeting the limits, but neither industry representatives nor DEP staff could provide any definitive answer to that question.

Selenium is a naturally occurring element, and a certain amount is needed for good health. Studies have shown that selenium has the narrowest margin between nutritional necessity and toxicity of any essential element.

Recent studies in Italy have established links to increased incidence of cancer and neurological problems as a result of excess selenium in water supplies.

Concerns about human health and water quality led OVEC allies in the WV Council of Churches and the Catholic Conference to strongly oppose any extension of the 2010 deadline for compliance.

These groups sent letters to the Legislative leadership and joined OVEC and the WV Environmental Council in efforts to halt the legislation.

At the very least, any request for an extension should have begun with the agency in charge (DEP) and have included a public comment period. DEP promises that all relevant permits will be considered on an individual basis, with opportunity for public input and input by the EPA. We can only hope the EPAs response will be, "Times up."

In May, Derek Teaney, counsel for OVEC, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and the Sierra Club wrote a letter to EPA urging the agency to oppose the states new legislation because, "The state bill, SB 461, illegally authorizes the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to extend the compliance deadline for meeting selenium water quality standards until July 1, 2012."

On June 2, EPA replied that the agency was reviewing our requests. Stay tuned.


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