Selenium Bill Passes WV House
The State Journal
8 March 2013
By Whitney Burdette
Coal companies can breathe a sigh of relief.
On Friday, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that
calls for the study of, rather than enforcement action, of water
quality when coal companies exceed certain levels of selenium. The
Environmental Protection Agency has tried in the past to revise
selenium standards to no avail.
The current standard is five parts per billion and is loosely
enforced. Selenium occurs naturally and is washed from the soil
when ground is disturbed, as it is in coal mining. Coal operations
are one of the major sources of additional selenium found in West
Virginia water. House Bill 2579 would keep the numerical standard
in place, but also would require data collection and studies on
The bill's lead sponsor is Delegate Rupie Phillips, D-Logan.
Several other Democrats and a few Republicans signed on as
co-sponsors. Delegate Tim Miley, D-Harrison and chairman of the
House Judiciary Committee, said the bill isn't a partisan issue.
"It's an important (bill) for the coal industry," he said before
the House vote.
Miley said the bill "creates flexibility" for mine companies by
not imposing fines that could result in decreased production or
The bill will now move to the Senate.