VICTORIA — Six months after signing a pact to co-operate on mine development across the B.C.-Alaska border, the Alaskan government is questioning British Columbia’s ability to protect the environment due to weak enforcement of its mining industry.
Alaska Lieutenant-Governor Byron Mallott says his government will demand assurances that British Columbia is taking action in the wake of a new report from the province’s Auditor-General that calls for the creation of an independent agency to take over regulation of the mining industry because of lax enforcement and compliance.
“The Office of the Auditor-General’s report is troubling and a wake-up call to the B.C. government that important changes must occur,” Mr. Mallott, who has led the state government’s negotiations with British Columbia on the issue of mining, said in a statement.
Auditor-General Carol Bellringer concluded that the B.C. government has put its economic interest in promoting the mining industry ahead of environmental regulation: “We found almost every one of our expectations for a robust compliance and enforcement program … were not met,” she wrote.
B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett says he is committed to improving regulation, but stopped short of accepting the Auditor-General’s recommendation for independent oversight.
Alaskan officials have pressed for some say over mining development to protect rivers, watersheds and fisheries that are downstream of B.C. mining projects.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/alaska-raises-concerns-with-bcs-mining-oversight-after-audit/article29878365/