In February, Montana Sen. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, and Rep. Steve Gunderson, R-Libby, led an effort to overturn those selenium standards, arguing there was no evidence of fish damage but the restrictions could hurt the economy of Lincoln County. State Department of Environmental Quality Director Chris Dorrington disputed those claims, noting researchers had already found reproductive damage in Montana fish.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the same standards for selenium levels as Montana on Feb. 26, the same day the Senate Natural Resources Committee killed Cuffe’s SB 324 on a 7-5 vote.
Teck Resources mines coal via mountaintop removal, and sells it to foundries for steel and metal production. Sanders-Green said while Canada’s energy-producing coal mines have hit hard economic times similar to the wave of coal bankruptcies in the United States, the market for metallurgic coal remains strong.
Read More: Coal miner hit with $60M fine for selenium damage | Local News