Proposed New Prosperity Mine
December 9th, 2013 - 12:12pm
The NDP shares concerns about the pervasive environmental and cultural impact of this proposed mine, which include the grave threat to fish and wildlife, livelihoods, as well as serious challenge First Nation’s inherent spiritual and human rights. While there may be potential economic benefits to this project, it is irresponsible to ignore these impacts.
In 2011, the federal government rejected Taseko’s original Prosperity Mine proposal, citing what the Minister of Environment called a scathing environmental assessment. Not surprisingly, the second federal review panel by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has again concluded that the proposal by Taseko Mines Ltd. would have significant adverse effects on both the Tsilhqot’in First Nation and the Secwepemc people downriver and on the environment. This mine does not meet the standards of sustainable development that British Columbians expect.
The Tsilhqot’in people won a difficult court case confirming that decisions concerning resources on their traditional territories must not be made without their full participation and input. The federal government should respect the panel’s findings – which came at significant taxpayer cost – and stand by its original decision that the mine’s environmental impacts outweigh its potential economic benefits.
Fish Lake was named for its abundant life. The Lake is sacred to the Tsilhqot’in people. Why would we turn this sacred, bountiful, pristine lake into a tailings pond? The federal assessment panel ruled that an artificial lake could not compensate for the loss of this natural lake. The federal government must support that decision.
New Democrats have called for a repeal of the law that allows the Fisheries Minister to arbitrarily designate lakes to be turned into tailings ponds. There should be better and clearer controls on this process for everyone’s sake. The federal government should make the rules clearer from the outset of the process so that investors and communities have a clear understanding of what to expect.
The Conservative government’s anti-environment agenda is clear. In a 2012 omnibus budget bill, they gutted the environmental assessment process, eliminating evaluations of thousands of potentially damaging projects, and dismantled legislation that once protected ecosystems, rivers and lakes, and critical fish habitat. These changes have turned back the clock on Canada’s environmental regulations by decades. Canada’s New Democrats believe a balance must be struck. We know job creation and economic prosperity go hand in hand with the sustainable, respectful development of Canada’s natural resources, and we will continue to fight for these principles.