The president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs does not believe the provincial moratorium on uranium mining should be lifted.
“The Okanagan Nation Alliance has always been opposed to uranium exploration and mining, as has the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs,” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip told the Straight by phone today (May 30). “We’ve never supported uranium exploration and mining, and we’ve always supported those groups and communities that have opposed exploration and mining. And we certainly support a continuation of the moratorium.”
The B.C. Liberals banned the exploration and development of uranium in April 2008.
This move led to a scathing Vancouver Sun editorial in May of that year, which claimed, “Uranium mining is no more dangerous than other forms of mining, which happens to be the safest of all heavy industries.”
Phillip was quick in his response to these claims.
“I don’t believe that for a moment,” he said. “Uranium mining is a major issue down in the American southwest. With reference to the tribes in the Four Corners, they have been vehemently opposed to uranium mining and they brought forward a lot of compelling evidence about the incidences of cancer in those Native Americans who have worked within the uranium mining open-pit operations.”
The issue has always been controversial in Germany, and has heated up again after Chancellor Angela Merkel reversed existing policy due to safety concerns after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Merkel has said Germany will phase out all nuclear power by 2022.