1. Teck Resources, a Canadian mining company, is contaminating the Kootenai River watershed with selenium pollution.

The only source of selenium into Montana and then Idaho is from five mountain-top removal coal mines operated by Teck Resources in the Elk River Valley in British Columbia. Selenium pollution flows from the mines, down the Elk River into Lake Koocanusa, and ultimately, the Kootenai River in northern Idaho.

2. Selenium is toxic!

Selenium is a toxic element that gets into our waterways, makes its way up the food chain, and triggers harmful side effects in aquatic life. Since 2017, the population of Westslope Cutthroat Trout in this watershed has decreased by 93% because of selenium pollution.

3. Teck is violating the water quality laws of Idaho and Montana

Idaho and Montana both have water quality limits for selenium that are protective of the watershed (including fish!). Idaho also went a step further and listed the Kootenai River as impaired. This label means the water quality in the river is not good enough for the fish that live there. Teck’s mining pollution is violating these laws.

4. The Boundary Waters Treaty can help us

The Boundary Waters Treaty says that Canada cannot pollute U.S. waters and vice versa. Because Teck is violating Idaho and Montana selenium limits, we can use the Boundary Waters Treaty to hold Teck accountable for not meeting U.S. standards. Under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, the International Joint Commission (IJC) was created as an independent body to resolve transboundary water quality disputes.

5. We need your help!

In order to use the International Joint Commission, we need Idaho’s Senators on board. For them to lend their support, they need a nudge from you! Please take a moment today to ask Senators Risch and Crapo to support an IJC reference for the Kootenai River!