At the first-of-its-kind meeting, representatives of U.S., Canadian and tribal governments will discuss water quality impacts stemming from an expansive coal-mining operation in British Columbia.
After years of delays and false starts, eight governments impacted by an expansive Canadian coal-mining operation are set to meet today on Indigenous territory in Cranbrook, British Columbia, to discuss the future of the governments’ shared waterways.
The meeting will include representatives from the federal governments of the United States and Canada and the Ktunaxa Nation Council, which advocates for the interests of six bands of Indigenous people spread across present-day British Columbia, Montana and Idaho. The council, which includes representation from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, has for years asked for greater oversight of Teck Resources’ British Columbia-based coal-mining operation.
“While we are glad to share this news, and anxious to begin the real work of restoring our waters, we remain committed to finding a solution that will actually heal our river,” Chelsea Colwyn, an attorney for the CSKT, told the Canadian Press last week.
Waterborne mining pollution has degraded water quality and impacted fisheries on both sides of the border, including Canada’s Elk River, the border-spanning Lake Koocanusa, and the Kootenai (spelled “Kootenay” in Canada) River, which winds through British Columbia, Montana and Idaho before joining in the Columbia River just north of Washington state.
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