WILLIAMS LAKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Mar 27, 2017) - As Federal Crown Prosecutors move today in B.C. provincial court to stay (i.e. shelve) MiningWatch's private charges over the Mount Polley mine disaster, the mining watchdog is releasing the names of over 25,000 Canadians who have endorsed a petition urging the Trudeau government not to let those responsible off the hook for the biggest mining spill in Canada's history. Local residents, regional groups, and First Nations support the effort to enforce the Fisheries Act.
The 25,000-strong petition is presented today in a demonstration in front of Williams Lake Court house. British Columbians and Canadians are invited to add their names to the petition, before the petition is delivered in the coming weeks to each of the federal ministers responsible for enforcing the Fisheries Act.
"We are deeply concerned that nearly three years after the disaster, and despite clear evidence of damage to water and fish habitat, no sanctions have been brought forward by any level of government," states Ugo Lapointe, Canada Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada.
Angus Wong, Campaign Manager for SumOfUs, which sponsored the petition, adds: "Worse, Imperial Metals, the owner of the mine, did not even have to pay the full cost of the cleanup. Instead, British Columbians and Canadians picked up a big part of the tab."
Lapointe: "This sets the wrong standards and sends the wrong signal to industry and other mines across Canada. It further undermines public confidence in the mining sector and erodes people's trust in the ability of our regulatory system to effectively protect our environment."
Bev Sellars, Chair, First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining: "While Environment Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the B.C. Conservation Officer Service have been investigating the spill since 2014, there has been a complete lack of results from this investigation to date. This is particularly troubling given that some potential offences have a limitation period of three years to be filed in courts."
MiningWatch's legal action is supported by the following organizations: West Coast Environmental Law-Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (main funder), Amnesty International Canada, Sierra Club BC, Wilderness Committee, First Nations Women Advocating for Responsible Mining, Council of Canadians, Fair Mining Collaborative, Rivers Without Borders, British Columbia Environmental Network, SumOfUs, Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake, Quesnel River Watershed Alliance, Clayoquot Action, Forest Protection Allies, Kamloops Area Preservation Association, Kamloops Physicians for the Environment Society, and Alaska Clean Water Advocacy. Website: www.mountpolleyontrial.ca