The Green Party of Canada joins the BC Green Party in welcoming today’s announcement from Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq that the New Prosperity mine development proposal has been rejected.
This controversial proposal from Taseko Mines Ltd. for for an open-pit gold-copper mine at Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) in the central BC interior follows an almost identical development proposal that was rejected by then-Minister of Environment Jim Prentice in 2010.
“This is an important decision for British Columbians, critical for the integrity of the environmental assessment process and a victory for the Tsilhqot’in and Secwepemc people who have opposed the mining proposals for more than two decades,” said Adam Olsen, Leader of the BC Green Party. “Environmental issues aside, the BC government’s continued support for the New Prosperity mine is an affront to the commitment they have made to build real and lasting relationships with First Nations in British Columbia.”
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands also expressed support for the Environment Minister’s decision.
“Canadians need to know that this project received a proper and thorough environmental review, thanks to the fact that even the second review remained under the rules of the original environmental assessment act,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “I shudder to think what would have happened if this disastrous project had been initiated under the gutted shell of environmental assessment we now have in the wake of the 2012 omnibus budget wrecking ball.”
In announcing her decision to reject Taseko Mine’s revised proposal today, Minister Aglukkaq acknowledged that if it were built, the mine would cause “significant adverse environmental effects that could not be mitigated,” a conclusion supported by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) October 2013 Report of the Federal Review Panel: New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine Project.
The CEAA report, the result of months of public hearings and consultation with Aboriginal groups, scientists and industry experts, concluded that the New Prosperity Project would have significant detrimental effects on “water quality in Fish Lake, on fish and fish habitat, on current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by certain Aboriginal groups, and on their cultural heritage.”