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UPDATE: Tsilhqot’in Nation chiefs in Ottawa to defend Teztan Biny

Council of Canadians water campaigner Meera Karunananthan at Teztan Biny in July 2009.

Council of Canadians water campaigner Meera Karunananthan at Teztan Biny in July 2009.

The Council of Canadians, MiningWatch Canada and the Sierra Club will be working with a delegation of chiefs from the Tsilhqot’in Nation who are in Ottawa this week to meet with MPs, top bureaucrats and the media to protect Teztan Biny from becoming a tailings impoundment area.

As highlighted in our November 2009 ‘ACTION ALERT: Help protect Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)’ by BC-Yukon organizer Harjap Grewal, “Taseko Mines Ltd. is proposing the use of Teztan Biny as a acid tailings lake. This is a practice that since 2002 has been supported by controversial changes to the Fisheries Act under Schedule 2 which allow for the redefining of any lake as a ‘tailings impoundment area’. The two kilometre-wide open pit of the proposed mine, along with tailings pond, waste rock piles, roads, and transmission lines would destroy the entire sub-alpine ecosystem around the lake and Teztan Biny.”

The Council of Canadians has argued that Teztan Biny and other lakes across the country (including Sandy Pond in Newfoundland) should not be used as toxic dump sites for mining corporations. We have said that these so-called ‘tailing impoundment areas’ represent the privatization of a public resource and will have devastating social and environmental consequences. As we deal with the impacts of climate change, mismanagement and overuse of fresh water, it is unconscionable to allow the destruction of entire bodies of freshwater for mining purposes.

Public hearings on Teztan Biny begin in Williams Lake on March 22 (World Water Day) and Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow is scheduled to visit the area in late-May.

A Tsilhqot’in Nation background document on Teztan Biny can be read at http://www.protectfishlake.ca/media/TNG_Teztan_Biny_Backgrounder_April_2009.pdf.

An August 2009 Georgia Straight article ‘Fight looms over Fish Lake’, can be read at http://www.straight.com/article-249305/fight-looms-over-fish-lake.

More to come this week.