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International Commission Asks Canada to Join Probe of Selenium Flowing From BC

A fly fisherman casts on the Kootenai River, downstream of the Koocanusa Reservoir, near the Montana-Idaho boundary and Leonia, Idaho, on Sept. 19, 2014. (The Canadian Press/AP/The Spokesman Review, Rich Landers)

The agency that mediates disputes between Canada and the United States over shared waters is pleading with the federal Liberals to join an investigation into contamination from British Columbia coal mines.

The International Joint Commission has written Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to collaborate before the Americans move on their own.

U.S. officials are increasingly concerned about selenium flowing over the border from Teck Resource’s Elk Valley coal mines.

Levels of selenium, which can be toxic to fish, are many times higher than those set by Montana and Idaho.

The commission is warning that concern over the pollutant is increasing.

Teck has protested the allowable levels in Montana and Idaho as unreasonable and says that the company’s water treatment plans will stabilize and reduce selenium levels.

The Canadian Press

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