By Ainslie Cruickshank Star Vancouver
Fri., Aug. 9, 2019, 4 min. read
VANCOUVER—Two U.S. senators and Alaska government officials have taken long-standing concerns about toxic waste from B.C. mines to an international body created under a century-old treaty that governs transboundary water issues between Canada and the United States.
Some Alaskan officials are not satisfied that B.C. has the regulatory system in place to protect the environment from the impacts of mining, especially as new mines are proposed in the region.
“My longstanding concern is that our neighbors in British Columbia are not meeting a similar high standard with regard to the impacts of hard rock mining on other resources and livelihoods in transboundary watersheds — especially the downstream fisheries that support tribes and coastal communities in Alaska,” said U.S. senator for Alaska Lisa Murkowski in a statement.
U.S. senator for Alaska Dan Sullivan, who also attended the meeting with the International Joint Commission, said in a statement that progress is finally being made on the transboundary mining concerns.
“The best way to build on this momentum is for Canadian officials to work expeditiously to fully and finally remediate the Tulsequah Chief mine to prevent further pollution into the Taku River. This is an issue I’ve been pressing senior Canadian officials on, including Prime Minister Trudeau. I am hopeful we’ll see progress soon,” he said.
For six decades, the Tulsequah Chief copper mine in B.C.’s northwest, about 60 kilometres northeast from Juneau, Alaska, has been discharging acid waste into the Tulsequah River, which flows into the Taku River, before continuing west to the Alaskan coast. This acid forms when sulphides in the rock are exposed to air and water.
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SALMON BEYOND BORDERS is a campaign driven by sport and commercial fishermen, community leaders, tourism and recreation business owners and concerned citizens, in collaboration with Tribes and First Nations, united across the Alaska/British Columbia border to defend and sustain our transboundary rivers, jobs and way of life.
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