The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.
VANCOUVER — The Canadian Press – The state of Alaska has taken the rare step of asking the Canadian government for greater involvement in the approval and regulation of a controversial mine in northwestern British Columbia amid growing concern that the project could threaten American rivers and fish.
Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources outlined its request in a letter this week to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which has been reviewing the proposed KSM gold and copper mine, owned by Seabridge Gold Inc. The project has already been approved by B.C.
“The state of Alaska has important obligations to our citizens relating to the protection of fish, wildlife, waters and lands that we hold in trust,” says the state’s letter, signed by three senior bureaucrats.
They request in the letter that the state be involved in the authorization and permitting process for the KSM mine, the development of enforcement provisions in those permits, and the development of monitoring programs for water quality and dam safety.
Alaska has already been consulted during both the provincial and federal environmental reviews, which is routine for projects that could affect neighbouring jurisdictions, but the vast majority of permitting work occurs after an environmental certificate is issued.
Kyle Moselle of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources said the state has developed a good relationship with Canadian regulators, but he said that shouldn’t stop when the environmental assessment process is over.
“As far as I know, we have not sought direct involvement in the permitting or monitoring processes for a large hard rock mine proposed in northwest B.C.,” Mr. Moselle said in an interview Friday.
“That’s really where the enforceable provisions of how the project will be constructed, operated and monitored are laid out. That’s the process we want to be involved in.”
Environmentalists, aboriginal groups and commercial fishermen in Alaska claim the project poses a risk to rivers that flow into their state, and they’ve pointed to a recent tailings spill at an unrelated mine in central B.C. to amplify those concerns.
The tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine failed almost three weeks ago, releasing millions of cubic metres of water and silt into the surrounding watershed and raising fears about the potential impact on the environment and fish. The B.C. government says testing has so far indicated water and fish in the area are safe for human consumption.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/alaska-requests-greater-involvement-in-oversight-of-large-bc-gold-mine/article20182593/#dashboard/follows/