Lawmakers in Alaska and Washington state push B.C. on mining regulations – by Brenda Owen (City News/Canadian Press – June 1, 2021)

VANCOUVER — Lawmakers in Alaska and Washington state are renewing calls for British Columbia to strengthen its mining regulations to protect shared waterways.

A group of 25 members of the Washington state legislature sent a letter to Premier John Horgan in March, saying a tailings dam breach at one of several mines in B.C. within 100 kilometres of the state’s border could damage transboundary rivers and fisheries.

Eight Alaskan state legislators followed with a letter to Horgan in May expressing their constituents’ “deep concerns” about the potential impacts of abandoned, active and future mines on shared waterways.

B.C. is making changes to mining policies after a 2016 audit found “monitoring and inspections of mines were inadequate to ensure mine operators complied with requirements,” increasing environmental risk.

The audit was already underway in 2014 when the 40-metre tailings dam failed at the Mount Polley copper and gold mine in south-central B.C.

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