Mushkegowuk chiefs call for moratorium on development within Ring of Fire (Timmins Daily Press – January 12, 2021)

Chiefs say development activities should be halted until plans are in place to “ensure sensitive wetlands and watersheds are protected”

Mushkegowuk Council chiefs are calling for a moratorium on development in the Ring of Fire until there are studies and plans in place that will ensure mining operations will have no environmental or ecological impact on traditional lands.

They want a moratorium until a “proper protection plan through a comprehensive study based on best science and traditional ecological data” is implemented.

The focus of any study would include major rivers such as the Attawapiskat, Albany, Ekwan and Winisk and thousands of streams that flow into the Hudson Bay and James Bay.

“We are talking about the peatlands. We see them as the breathing and cooling lands for the planet, which is the third largest wetland in the world and one of richest carbon storehouses on Earth,” Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon, stated in a release issued by Mushkegowuk Council on Tuesday.

The release includes supporting comments from First Nations chief from across the Mushkegowuk region. “Without the proper planning and appropriate consideration of the sensitive wetlands, much damage will occur downstream, down muskeg, which is the homeland of the Omushkego people,” said Solomon. “We all rely heavily on this valuable and fragile ecosystem,“

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