NEWS ~ CONSERVATIVES CUT CORNERS FOR CONTROVERSIAL MINE PROJECT
May 11th, 2012 - 4:00pm
For Immediate Release
May 11, 2012
CONSERVATIVES CUT CORNERS FOR CONTROVERSIAL MINE PROJECT
OTTAWA - New Democrats are appalled Conservative government’s latest move to downgrade Aboriginal rights and title in order to facilitate the controversial mine New Prosperity mine proposal in British Columbia. The new Terms of Reference gives less ability to assess adverse environmental risk and Aboriginal rights and title and seem designed to favour an approval for the previously rejected project.
“The Conservative government is showing a blatant disrespect for Aboriginal rights and title,” said NDP First Nations critic, Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichan). “The Tsilhqot’in National Government must be guaranteed that all impacts of this mine on their traditional territory and their way of life are being considered, including impacts on their proven Aboriginal rights to hunt and trap throughout the proposed site for this project.”
In 2010, the Conservative government rejected Taseko’s proposal for Prosperity Mine citing an environmental assessment that found it would have serious impacts on fish habitat, wildlife and the culture and Aboriginal rights of local First Nations. Jim Prentice, then Minister of the Environment, called the report “scathing” and “probably the most condemning I have ever read.”
In an unprecedented move, Taseko Mines was given the opportunity for a second review of their application.
“The decision made by the first review panel was clear and correct,” said Fin Donnelly, NDP Deputy Fisheries critic for the West Coast (New-Westminster-Coquitlam). “The fact that the government is reviewing the previously rejected version of this mine proposal makes a mockery of the process.”
“What we see in the new Terms of Reference is that the Minister is not in fact interested in a full and legitimate assessment of the impacts of this mine,” said Peter Julian, NDP Energy and Natural Resources critic (Burnaby-New Westminster) “We see a process unfolding that is trying to handcuff this new Panel, especially in their ability to come to the same conclusions as the last Panel with regards to impacts on Aboriginal rights. This is another example of this government’s disregard for the environment.”
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