Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

February 11, 2013

Selenium regulations deferred in committee

FRANKFORT — Concerns by environmental representatives persuaded the Administrative Regulations and Review Subcommittee Monday to defer a new regulation proposed by the Cabinet for Energy and Environment on discharges of selenium into Kentucky streams.

The environmentalists accused the cabinet of amending an advertised change in the regulation after a public comment period.

Tom Fitzgerald of the Kentucky Resources Council called the move “an unprecedented action,” saying it was only the second time Kentucky has ever sought to make such a change without full public review.

Bruce Scott, commissioner of Environmental Protection, agreed it was unusual but said it is legal under provisions of Kentucky administrative regulations, a view confirmed by the committee chairman, Johnny Bell of Glasgow.

But after testimony from Fitzgerald and Ted Withrow, a former Kentucky Division of Water employee, committee members had several questions about the proposed changes. One change would be to switch from a measurement of selenium in the water itself to measuring its build-up in fish tissues.

That prompted Rep. Tommy Turner, R-Somerset, to ask if the Department of Fish and Wildlife had reviewed the proposed change. Rep. Stan Lee, D-Elizabethtown, asked how significant or dramatic the change is from what was publicly proposed and what was finally placed before the committee.

“This is a major, substantial change,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald, who has lobbied the legislature for more than two decades on environmental issues, gaining grudging respect and admiration even from those who generally oppose stronger environmental regulations, was heavily critical of the cabinet.

“This cabinet has shown a particular proclivity to thumb its nose at (Kentucky’s regulations) in recent years,” he said.

Bev May, who lives along Wilson Creek in Floyd County, a stream she says has been polluted by coal mining discharges, said the cabinet’s proposal on selenium would mean “no coal company will ever be held liable for discharging selenium into our streams.”

Withrow, the retired Davison of Water inspector, said, “Selenium is lethal to the aquatic environment.” He said the cabinet’s proposal to measure selenium in egg ovaries of fish will be futile.

“You’ll have no egg ovaries to look at once (selenium) reaches these levels,” Withrow said.

Scott defended the cabinet’s thinking in seeking the change, saying it is based on new science. But he said the cabinet would also “be welcome to deferring this until the next committee meeting.”

Bell suggested the two parties try to work out any differences and invited the environmentalists to visit him to share their concerns before that next meeting.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

  • Ronnie Ellis: U.S. Senate race trail long and interesting

    By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service

    FRANKFORT — Last week was a long one, endured under the onslaught of an awful summer cold and played out across the commonwealth. It began in Fancy Farm and ended it in Corbin with a trip to Hazard in between.

    August 9, 2014

  • Senate race becomes family affair

    By LANA BELLAMY
    CNHI NEWS SERVICE
    PAINTSVILLE — U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got personal on Friday while calling a report inaccurate concerning his wife’s role as a board member in an organization that funds anti-coal efforts.

    August 9, 2014

  • Dennis Beighley led out of courthouse Mother, grandparents face attempted murder charges in starvation case

    Cheers and applause erupted in a courtroom when a pregnant mother from Pennsylvania accused of starving her then-7-year-old son was remanded to jail, along with the boy’s grandparents.

    August 8, 2014 2 Photos

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks