Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:40PM - 484 Views

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Rachel Baldwin

Staff Writer

CHARLESTON — The coal industry can take a sigh of relief now that the Selenium Bill-HB 2579 has passed both chambers.

The West Virginia House of Delegates approved the amendments made by the Senate earlier this week. The bill is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

The purpose of HB 2579 is to study the effect selenium has on the state’s water supply. Currently, the Federal Environmental Agency places restrictions on the amount of selenium coal mines are allowed to put in the water supply. Delegate Justin Marcum, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, believes these restrictions are too strict.

“The current restrictions placed on the coal industry are unnecessary,” Marcum said, “Recent studies have shown that selenium isn’t as bad for you as was previously believed. Now, selenium can be found in many foods and nutritional supplements we consume every day.”

Delegate Rupert Phillips Jr. (D-Logan), the lead sponsor of the bill, believes the bill is fair to West Virginia.

“I think it’s a fair bill, it brings the coal industry to a more level playing field. It’s a fair standard that protects jobs and our citizens,” Phillips said.

Along with Phillips and Marcum, Delegates Harry Keith White (D-Mingo), Josh Stowers (D-Lincoln), Jeff Eldridge (D-Lincoln), Ted Tomblin (D-Logan), Mike Caputo (D-Marion), Brent Boggs (D-Braxton), Kevin Craig (D-Cabell), Linda Sumner (R-Raleigh), and Joshua Nelson (R-Boone) are listed as co-sponsors.

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