Council of Canadians celebrates federal government decision on Fish Lake
OTTAWA, Nov. 2 /CNW/ - The Council of Canadians is celebrating the federal government decision to reject the Prosperity mine project. The Environment Canada news release states that "the Prosperity mine project as proposed, near Williams Lake, cannot be granted federal authorizations to proceed due to concerns about the significant adverse environmental effects of the project."
The Council congratulates the Tsilhqot'in whose campaign to protect the lake drew the attention of groups across the country to this very important issue.
Environment minister Jim Prentice highlighted the findings of the federal review panel in his decision. Council of Canadians water campaigner Meera Karunananthan and BC-Yukon organizer Harjap Grewal presented to this federal panel on March 22. The Williams Lake chapter also presented to the panel earlier that day. On September 7, 2010, the Council of Canadians delivered 15,000 petitions opposing the Prosperity mine project to Prentice's office on Parliament Hill.
If the project had been approved, it would have resulted in the destruction of Fish Lake, also known as Teztan Biny. Taseko had proposed using Fish Lake as a tailings impoundment area for Prosperity mine, a gold-copper mining project.
The Taseko application for the Prosperity Mine had been made under the federal Schedule 2 provision. Once added to Schedule 2, healthy freshwater lakes lose all environmental protections. There are twelve other lakes in Canada threatened by Schedule 2 including Sandy Pond. The Sandy Pond Alliance has launched a lawsuit challenging the Schedule 2 loophole.
"Schedule 2 combined with the desire of the Harper government to scrap the environmental review process present a longstanding threat to our freshwater supplies," says Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow.
"We must now ensure that other lakes across the country are protected by ensuring that the loophole in the Fisheries Act is removed and that the practice of dumping toxins into lakes is prohibited in Canada as it is in other industrialized countries," adds Barlow.For further information:
Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685