House Fisheries urges pressure on B.C. over transboundary mining – by Jacob Resneck (Alaska Public Media – May 1, 2019)

Alaska Public Media

A legislative committee heard from mine critics on both sides of the border during a Tuesday hearing in Juneau. It’s part of an effort to pressure British Columbia to tighten its mining regulations to reduce the threat of pollution from transboundary mines.

After hearing exclusively from mine critics, Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, said the House Fisheries Committee’s 90-minute hearing on transboundary mining wasn’t meant to be anti-mine.

“We are simply asking our neighbors across the border to adhere to best and safe practices when mining in our shared watersheds,” the committee’s chairwoman said, “which is clearly something they have a poor track record with.”

The “poor track record” Stutes referenced is the Mount Polley disaster in 2014. A tailings dam breached, releasing billions of gallons of mine waste into salmon rich streams in British Columbia. The mining company Imperial Metals was never fined by B.C. regulators.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis said that’s evidence that Southeast’s fisheries and visitor economies are vulnerable to future mishaps.

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