Protect Our Appalachian Mountains and Waterways

  • by: Sierra Club
  • target: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
If you don't like the rules, change them.

That's just what Kentucky is trying to do for the coal mining industry. Instead of protecting the waterways that run through Appalachia, the state's Division of Water (DOW) chose to weaken a critical part of the Clean Water Act. Fortunately, the EPA can strike this down and stand up for our communities.

Kentucky wants to cut the coal mining industry a break by allowing even more selenium pollution in our streams and rivers. This pollution from mountain-top removal mining is a serious threat to fish and wildlife, causing deformities, reproductive harm, damage to gills and organs and even death in fish. Working its way up the food chain, selenium pollution poisons salamanders, waterfowl, and other aquatic life.

If you love our Appalachian mountains and waterways, tell the EPA to protect these streams and rivers from mountain-top removal mining pollution.
Subject: Reject Kentucky's Proposal to Weaken Selenium Standards

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a person who values our streams and waterways and the recreational and economic benefits they bring to Appalachian communities, I urge you to reject Kentucky's proposal to weaken selenium standards through an amendment to 401 KAR 10:031.

I am concerned that the Kentucky Division of Water's revision of the selenium water quality standards -- which are significantly weaker than current selenium standards and would allow substantial damage to occur to Kentucky's fish and wildlife -- will not protect Kentucky's streams and aquatic life. The standards they have created are remarkably similar to ones EPA rejected in 2004 as too weak to protect aquatic life.

The proposed revisions to Kentucky's selenium water quality standards represent a significant departure from what was previously presented to the public, yet were not subject to sufficient public review. The revised standards are unenforceable and deficient. The Division of Water violated the public trust by not following state and federal regulations governing the public review process for such revisions. A water quality standard is supposed to protect our water quality resources and the communities that depend on them. Please reject Kentucky's amended selenium water quality standards and uphold the Clean Water Act.
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