Coal Tattoo

Stopping selenium: New EPA standards coming?

The Obama administration is apparently nearing completion of a proposal that would tighten the selenium discharges from coal-mining operations.

Release of a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended water quality criteria for selenium is “imminent,” state Department of Environmental Protection officials said during a public water quality standards meeting this afternoon.

Some sort of EPA proposal has been in the works for years, but a Bush administration effort was widely criticized by scientists as weakening protections for aquatic life (See here and here).

Pat Campbell, a DEP water quality assistant director, said during today’s meeting that he has not seen specific numbers on what EPA will propose. But tighter limits on selenium have been among the measures the Obama administration has been considering as part of its crackdown on mountaintop removal.

Stay tuned …