“Even after a site has been reclaimed and attempts have been made to re-vegetate it,’ a biologist with the study says, ‘the streams that remain below that, that weren't filled, have high levels of all sorts of nasty things’ Things, she says, like selenium, which in high amounts can harm fish and other aquatic life; and sulfates, which alter the water chemistry… Many animals in these valley streams — from algae to fish and birds — could be seriously harmed.”
The study was released in the same week that the Environmental Protection Agency supported a new mine permit for a site in West Virginia. From the L.A. Times:
“The permit that the EPA just released this week is not consistent with what the scientists are saying,’ said Joan Mulhern, counsel to Earthjustice, which has taken legal action to halt the practice. The Obama administration has pledged in general to…do what the science dictates. This unequivocal new study has got to drive them to phase out the practice,’ Mulhern said.