A research team hired by the J.R. Simplot Co. has linked selenium discharged from the company's phosphate mine near the Wyoming border to high rates of deformities in trout, including cases of brown trout fry with two heads, missing fins and cranial deformities.
Yes, you read that right.
And, still these phosphate mines are not required to report their releases to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory - a publicly available database so communities can have information on the amount of pollution released in and near their homes.
And, what's worse, the company is asking for an exemption from water quality standards for two selenium polluted streams near Simplots Smoky Canyon Mine in Idaho.
The "phosphate patch" in this region is notorious for the number of livestock deaths associated with selenium pollution.
Good news. The EPA is considering adding phosphate mines to the list of industries that must report the amount of toxic pollution they release into air, water and land. What? They don’t do this already? No. And, they should.
Phosphate mines are responsible for large releases of selenium, which is harmful to wildlife, livestock, fisheries, and public health.