On October 18, the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) were back in Ottawa nearly a year after a federal government rejected a proposal by Taseko to develop a copper-gold mine on unceded Tsilhqot’in land due to adverse environmental impacts. They came to Ottawa to campaign against a repackaged proposal by Taseko that hadn’t even made it to the federal review panel last time around because it was so flawed.
This time around the company has stated that they won’t drain Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), however the new tailings pond it is planning to build will destroy two other bodies of water that are vital to the survival Teztan Biny. "Fish Lake will still be on life support and die a slower death" says Chief Marilyn of the TNG.
It is unimaginable that a company is allowed threaten Teztan Biny in pursuit of a proposal that both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and Taseko have acknowledged is more environmentally damaging than the proposal that was already rejected last year. “The company is on record admitting this new option is worse than the one that was rejected last year, and a CEAA review panel has already agreed with that assessment,” said Chief Joe Alphonse, Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, which represents six First Nations. “To proceed any further will place an unjustified burden on us and on taxpayers and will demonstrate the excessive influence that this company, its lobbyists and hired guns have on government.”
Allowing this application to be heard the government is also setting a unjust precedent for companies to continually drain the time and resources of communities even when projects have been rejected. The suggestion then is that the eco-system and rights of indigenous communities can never be protected through the environmental assessment process.
Meanwhile, BC Premier Christy Clark has completely ignoring the right for self-determination of Tsilhqot'in communities as well as concerns from CEAA federal panel and the public by making her first order of business as premier to lobby for this highly flawed project at the federal level. The Tsilhqot'in and their allies stood up against government support for this project in the past, and we need to do it again.
Join the Council of Canadians and stand in solidarity with the demands of the Tsilhqot'in communities by writing to the BC and Canadian governments demanding that Taseko's 'New' Properity Mine proposal must be stopped now.
Send an email to Peter Kent (Minister of the Environment), Christy Clark (Premier of British Columbia), Elaine Feldman (President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency), Dean Stinson O'Gorman (CEAA Review Panels Director), Lisa Walls (CEAA Pacific-Yukon Region Director), Megan Leslie (Official Opposition Critic on the Environment), Adrian Dix (Leader of the Official Opposition in BC).
To do so, simply copy and paste these email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
To read Council of Canadians water campaigner Meera Karunananthan's blog on the TNG visit to Ottawa, go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11299.