VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s downstream neighbours in Alaska have long been concerned about mining pollution flowing across the border. Now that B.C.’s Auditor-General has confirmed that those fears are well founded, issuing an audit recently that found the province is doing a poor job of regulating its mines, three Alaskan politicians have elevated the issue in Washington.
In a letter sent on Thursday, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk about it with the Canadian government.
“We write to express our continuing concerns about the development of several hardrock mines in British Columbia and their potential effects on water quality in the transboundary rivers that flow from Canada into southeast Alaska,” the letter states.
The Alaskans told Mr. Kerry that he should “utilize all measures at your disposal to address this issue at the international level.” What Alaska is worried about are proposed or newly opened mines on the Stikine, Taku and Unuk rivers in northwest B.C.
“Like most Alaskans, we strongly support responsible mining, including mines in southeast Alaska, but Alaskans need to have every confidence that mining activity in Canada is carried out just as safely as it is in our state. Yet, today, that confidence does not exist,” the letter states.
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