Environmentalists in Southeast Alaska are hoping to renew a push for action on pollution of transboundary waters flowing from Canada into the U.S. South of the Juneau, heavy metals run out of the Tulsequah Chief mine opening and down to holding ponds next to the Tulsequah River Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008. Leakage from those ponds can be seen entering the river that flows into the Taku River down stream. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Environmentalists in Southeast Alaska are hoping to renew a push for action on pollution of transboundary waters flowing from Canada into the U.S. South of the Juneau, heavy metals run out of the Tulsequah Chief mine opening and down to holding ponds next to the Tulsequah River Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008. Leakage from those ponds can be seen entering the river that flows into the Taku River down stream. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Opinion: BC mining industry is toxic to both sides of the border

“As it turns out, BC’s rigorous permitting standards are simply a license to pollute”

  • Wednesday, September 8, 2021 6:52pm
  • Opinion

The British Columbia mining industry’s opinion piece in last week’s Juneau Empire made great claims about its commitment to “responsible resource extraction” under BC’s supposedly rigorous regulating standards, and cited “consent-based decision-making” under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In fact, BC’s environmental standards are so “strict” that they permit the Gibraltar Mine to dump up to 6.34 million gallons of untreated tailings effluent directly into the salmon-bearing Fraser River every day between the months of April and November. The mine’s discharge pipe is about 2.5 miles from the fishing grounds of the Esdilagh First Nation.

As it turns out, BC’s rigorous permitting standards are simply a license to pollute. As for “consent-based decision-making,” the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s challenge to the BC permit, and the Esdilagh First Nation’s invoking of Sturgeon Law in 2020, requiring the nation’s free, prior, informed consent for any activities that could impact the river, tell another story.

That story continues over here in Alaska, where DOWA Metals & Mining, the Japanese smelting company and co-owner of Gibraltar Mine, seeks to develop a mine at the headwaters of the Chilkat River with their BC-based partner, Constantine Metal Resources. The Palmer Project would inject wastewater into the ground where it will make its way into the Chilkat River, threatening the downstream communities of Klukwan and Haines, and the salmon and clean water we depend on.

On both sides of the border, the BC mining industry is toxic to our fish and our communities.

•Shannon Donahue of Haines is the upper Lynn Canal organizer at Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

More in Opinion

teaser
Opinion: To safeguard our future, it is critical we act now to protect our fisheries

To that end, we invite Biden administration decision-makers to visit our Alaska fishing communities.

Web
Have something to say?

Here’s how to add your voice to the conversation.

Teaser
Opinion: Can we stop playing political football with Covid-19 mandates?

The drumbeat of divisive rhetoric on social media and newspaper opinion pages is getting shrill.

Faith Myers stands at the doors of API. (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Protecting people with a disability should be a legislative priority

The question still to be answered: “Will mental health care improve?”

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
BC’s environmental passion rings hollow

Declaratory statements imply lofty ideals but are devoid of any contextual facts.

)Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Hospital vaccine mandates make sense

lLt’s run through why some people are opposed to getting vaccinated…

teaser
Opinion: The state’s financial puzzle would be easier to solve without stretched numbers

Better to use all the puzzle pieces to build a more durable bridge.

Heavy metals run out of the Tulsequah Chief mine opening and down to holding ponds next to the Tulsequah River Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008. Leakage from those ponds can be seen entering the river that flows into the Taku River down stream. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: BC mining industry is toxic to both sides of the border

“As it turns out, BC’s rigorous permitting standards are simply a license to pollute”

Most Read