Blog Archives

New Federal Water Quality Guidance on Selenium

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new criteria for monitoring selenium, a potentially harmful pollutant, in water.

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Seleni-what?

Illustration by Jack Rooney

Most people have probably never heard of selenium, but for coal operators and fish it’s a big deal. Appalachian Voices’ water quality expert takes a moment to explain the issues surrounding this mineral — necessary in small amounts but toxic to aquatic life even at very low levels — and the EPA’s controversial attempts to regulate it.

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Study Shows Steep Decline in Fish Populations Near Mountaintop Removal

Selenium has caused grotesque deformities from s-curved spines and double-headed larvae to fish with both eyes on the same side of their heads. These fish (above) were caught at Belews Lake, N.C., which is adjacent to a Duke Energy coal-fired power plant. Photo by Dr. Dennis Lemly

A study from researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey published in July provides strong new evidence that mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia is devastating downstream fish populations.

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Selenium Spillover: Pollutant Poses Growing Risks to Ecosystems and the Coal Industry

By Brian Sewell Last year, when the bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp. agreed to phase out mountaintop removal coal mining as part of a settlement with environmental groups, it was partially because the company was on the hook for more than

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A Return to the States

By Appalachian Voices staff State legislatures in Appalachia are using their authority on health care reform, taxes, education, and energy and environmental policy to accomplish their own agendas, and sometimes, to rebuke federal policies. Here is the latest from our

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Under Pressure, Patriot Coal to Phase Out Mountaintop Removal

By Brian Sewell On Nov. 15, amid bankruptcy litigation and multiple lawsuits, Patriot Coal announced it would begin phasing out mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia as part of a settlement over selenium pollution. One of the largest operators in

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