NDP slams Christy Clark after Taseko Prosperity mine rejected for the second time

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      An NDP MLA is blasting Premier Christy Clark for her staunch support of a controversial B.C. gold and copper mine project that the federal government has twice blocked on environmental grounds.

      Opposition environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert told the Georgia Straight that the latest rejection of Taseko Mines Limited's proposed New Prosperity mine, southwest of Williams Lake, is a "victory for science".

      "For me, the B.C. government being further to the anti-environment extreme than Stephen Harper says a lot," the Vancouver-West End MLA said today (February 27) by phone. "Mining projects can be done that are benign to the environment and that have local First Nations and community support, and there are many of them across B.C. This wasn't one of them. It was clear from the first time it was rejected."

      On Wednesday (February 26), Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq announced her decision, which states that the mine is "likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects".

      "The Government of Canada will make decisions based on the best available scientific evidence while balancing economic and environmental considerations," Aglukkaq said in a news release. "The Government will continue to make responsible resource development a priority and invites the submission of another proposal that addresses the Government's concerns."

      Taseko's original Prosperity proposal received an environmental assessment certificate from the B.C. government in 2010. But the project was blocked that same year by the federal government due to environmental concerns.

      In 2011, Taseko submitted to the federal government a revised application, which spared Fish Lake from being, as initially proposed, turned into a reservoir for toxic mine-waste rock.

      First Nations and environmentalists are cheering the latest setback for Taseko.

      "We are celebrating this decision to reject once again this terrible project, which threatened our pristine waters, fish and Aboriginal rights," Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, said today in a news release. "We commend the federal government for not bowing to industry lobbying and instead respecting the science and the independent process which came to the conclusion that this project would have devastating impacts on the environment and our Nation’s ability to practice our rights in a sacred spiritual site. These impacts could not be mitigated."

      However, the Wilderness Committee noted that the minister has left the door open to a third Prosperity proposal from Taseko.

      “There’s no right way to do what’s wrong. Taseko’s mining plans have now been turned down twice by the federal government, and what we need now is to see these plans kicked to the curb – once and for all,” Joe Foy, national campaign director for the Wilderness Committee, said today in a news release.

      Chandra Herbert pointed out that Clark responded to the first rejection of the mine by calling it a "dumb decision". He's not sure the second rejection, even though such a thing is rare, is the end of the story.

      "I can't predict that," Chandra Herbert said. "The company still seems to be quite combative over it. But, as far as the license to proceed, the local First Nations are not onside and the science isn't onside, so you'd think at that point—at least as it's being presented now—it would be over."

      Comments

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      11 Comments

      Typical NDP

      Feb 27, 2014 at 11:42am

      I'm glad they're celebrating the loss of high paying union jobs in a economically depressed area. Appointing an out of touch city boy as their point man on issues that largely affect rural constituents is just another brilliant move by Dix.

      Randall Gray

      Feb 27, 2014 at 1:42pm

      The Minister rejected the project on environmental grounds. It could just as easily have been rejected as a violation of Aboriginal rights. Apparently, Taseko still doesn't get that this is unceded Tsilhqot'in land. It's not theirs to exploit.

      Since the 1980s, First Nations have been on a roll with over 190 consecutive legal victories on Constitutional matters. Despite this trend, the BC Government and corporations such as Taseko remain in denial about the new reality: Aboriginal groups effectively hold veto power over resource development on their traditional lands. Neither corporate profits nor the employment aspirations of Williams Lake are factors when compared to Constitutionally-protected Aboriginal rights.

      Taseko has been unbelievably arrogant throughout this whole process. Should they continue to pursue this ill-fated project, the inevitable response will be a relentless series of First Nations legal challenges. This conflict will be in the Courts for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow.

      cochrane

      Feb 27, 2014 at 2:06pm

      @"Typical NDP";
      As much as i would like to see high-paying union jobs, how can you be so sure that Taseko wouldn't apply to the feds for permission to import low-paid immigrant labour? This (rejection)is a good decision, and i hope they do kick the project under the bus for good. Incidently, you don't sound like a union person to me, you probably are sitting on your backside, bitching about your own miserable existence(I'm-OK,-Jack!attitude). Unions will work with the environmentalist movements and First Nations where protection of the environment is foremost and we'll keep the corporations' feet to the fire wherever we can. There are more jobs waiting in the environmental industry for us, than in the mad dash for slash-and-run super profits by the corporations.

      Yeah right

      Feb 27, 2014 at 2:15pm

      If the Conservative government rejected a project based on environmental grounds then it must be a terrible situation! Given that Clark's government didn't see any problems with it, how are we supposed to believe that her 'standards' for the Northern Gateway project are even remotely strong enough to be of any value? The NDP are smart to jump all over this.

      Typical NDP

      Feb 27, 2014 at 4:43pm

      Re: Cochrane

      Yes, rejecting all resource development will be a boon for private sector union workers. haahahhahahahahaahhahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Wow are you delusional. Just like your buddies in the NDP.

      Please tell me what high paying union jobs are waiting you in the "environmental" industry? I didn't think minimum wage tour guides were part of unions.

      Also, Please tell me what industries the natives approve of? If it was up to the NDP, natives and environmental movement we would all be broke, unemployed and homeless. Someone has to pay for utopian fantasies. Talk about a race to the bottom.

      The best part is that the NDP has doubled down on a failed strategy. Nice review.

      Garry R Moore

      Feb 27, 2014 at 4:47pm

      I am pleased that the Federal government has rejected the New Prosperity gold mine in the B.C. Interior.

      In view of the huge environmental disasters at the Giant gold mine site in the NWT and the Faro lead- zinc mine in the Yukon the Canadian mining industry needs to look at a new business model to rebuild its credibility in Canada and overseas.

      Case in point is the Giant mine - See weblinks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Mine http://globalnews.ca/news/444007/ottawa-reconsiders-toxic-sites-prioriti...

      Since 1935 various mining companies have extracted gold from the Giant mine leaving a cocktail of arsenic waste that will cost Canadian taxpayers $1 billion to clean up.

      As well, cleaning up the Faro lead-zinc mine in the Yukon is expected to cost taxpayers some $900 million - See weblink: - http://www.uphere.ca/node/320

      Mining companies should be required by law to set aside 4 to 8 percent of their gross revenue into special environmental trusts which would be invested and managed by national governments ( the higher the risk - the higher the percentage).

      Upon closure of mines companies would have the funds plus interest earned returned over a 10 year period provided that the companies have not left environmental damage.

      If there are environmental problems at mining sites then the special environmental trust funds would be drawn down to address the issues.

      Canada should be promoting to the world that good mining practices include sound environmental management.

      Moore, Garry R - Solutions Inc

      e.a.f.

      Feb 27, 2014 at 7:44pm

      well the province is broke anyhow, B.C. has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada and its been like that since the lieberals came to power, except for one yr, when we were number 2. So lets not get excited about not having the mine. At least we do have the trail guiding jobs.

      If we have the mine, they may well bring in "temporary foreign workers. there is nothing which guarantees the jobs will be well paid or go to Canadian workers. If the company has a large foreign investor and the new free trade agreement is signed with China, we won't even be able to do anything about the mine polluting. As a matter of fact we won't be able to even do anything which minimizes their ability to make a profit. It is best this mine never goes ahead.

      The jobs, if there are any for Canadians, will be temporary and the water is for ever. We may need that water in the future.

      If the federal Cons are against it on environmental grounds, then yes, it must be very bad. The land isn't even the government's to sell. they are still arguing about the ownership.

      I' rather have fewer jobs and a clean environment. If the government is so concerned about jobs, then perhaps they not ought to have permitted all those raw logs to go out of B.C. There went all the decent jobs they used to have in the Williams lake area, the mills shut down, raw logs went overseas and that's all they wrote.

      if they want jobs, think about legalizing m.j. Colorado did it and they voted a 25% tax. The state has taken in over $100M in less than 2 months. It provides jobs, tax money, keeps crime lords out of the business. what more could we want.

      If the provincial government focused more on health care, education, the environment, the jobs would be there. As to higher paying jobs, just raise the min. wage to start with or go with a Living Wage plan. It can actually work. building the mine is not necessary. It only guarantees a huge corporation will make a huge profit, there will be pollution, and continued poverty for the rest of us.

      The corporate president was just an arrogant prick, with his "this isn't over".

      ASKBiblitz

      Feb 28, 2014 at 11:19am

      Canada is not an enterprising nation, alas. The proliferation of leaky condos pretty much sums up hockey-billies’ design/construction mojo. That leaves lawyering and the public service for the moneyed classes and resource development for the rest. It would be nice if we were able to add value to our resources but we are not. In the meantime, revenue must come from somewhere and resources are something our trading partners will actually pay us for if we act in a timely manner. First Nations, principled environmentalists, may decline development, of course, but to ensure they, too, have some skin in the game might they do so minus federal and provincial subsidies in an amount equal to the revenue the project is expected to generate?

      Raifon

      Mar 3, 2014 at 2:38pm

      The NDP learned absolutely nothing after losing the last election. The reason again Mr. NDP who ever you are, was; you were percieved to be anti developement, you didn't handle questions on past indescretions well and you flipped flopped on the Carbon Tax issue. That is what lost you the election. Now here you go again about a perfectly good mine project that will improve BCs overall economic performance and again you cowtie to a small group of self serving bush runners.Wrong choices again and again will not get you elected ever. We need pro developement, integrity, and most of all get rid of the dreaded Carbon Tax as you first indicated you would and then said you'd review it first. You don't get second chances in this racket and the sooner you do what the people (majority) want then we are off and running. Personal priorities, aboriginal issues and environmental aspirations have to be aside to get this province rolling again. That is why the people of BC picked Crusty and her carpetbaggers over your , I DON"T KNOW BUNCH, wishy washy feel good loser attitude.

      fred

      Mar 3, 2014 at 2:54pm

      The science says the mine would have no significant adverse effects on the environment. If you actually read the FACTS this is the only conclusion one can reach, unless of course you are delusional. The courts will obviously realize this and compensate the company for the obviously flawed environmental review. The only question is whether the project will be still be dead despite the stupidity of the panel report.

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