A group of Washington state legislators is calling on Premier John Horgan to better protect the headwaters of cross-border rivers from the threat of pollution from mining in B.C.
The 25 state senators and house representatives, led by Senator Jesse Salomon, sent a letter to Horgan last week urging the premier to “undertake needed reforms to improve British Columbia’s financial assurance system,” related to mine reclamation and cleanup.
“We’re just concerned that there could be a tailings spill,” upstream of his state on critical salmon rivers such as the Skagit, Similkameen and Columbia, said Salomon, who represents Shoreline in suburban Seattle.
The state has spent “hundreds of millions of dollars to fix culverts, reconnect floodplains for salmon habitat,” is contemplating removal of a dam on the Similkameen, and “we can’t have mine tailings at the headwaters screwing all that up after the incredible work we’ve been doing,” Salomon said.
The letter backs concerns raised by environmental groups, such as Seattle-headquartered Conservation Northwest, which is campaigning against increased mining activity on the Canadian side of the border around rivers that flow south.
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