VANCOUVER — Canadian Press – There will be no provincial charges for a tailings dam collapse in British Columbia but the province’s new environment minister says a mining company may still be held responsible through federal laws.
George Heyman said Wednesday the August 2014 disaster has had tremendous economic and environmental consequences and British Columbians deserve to know what went wrong at the Mount Polley mine located in the province’s Interior.
“A disaster like this should never have happened in B.C., and it must never happen again,” Heyman said in a statement, adding that charges under the federal Fisheries Act“ remain very much in play and, in fact, potential penalties are more significant.”
A three-year deadline on charges will pass Friday in the midst of an ongoing investigation by B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service, but Chris Doyle, deputy chief of the agency, couldn’t say what stage the probe was at. The federal departments of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans are also part of the investigation.
“It’s an integrated investigation team,” Doyle said. “To date, the evidence has been collected under the provincial Emergency Management Act and the federal Fisheries Act and all of this information gathered during the course of this investigation will be considered by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, should charges be recommended.”
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