QUEBEC CITY, March 11, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Two years to the day
following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, First Nations, municipalities and Citizen groups unite their voices, asking the Quebec government to announce a moratorium on
uranium mines. They also ask the Government to quickly act on its
promise to hold a generic environmental evaluation on uranium in
Uranium is a radioactive metal used in the production of nuclear energy
and bombs. Its extraction and use pose significant health and
environmental risks. Moratoria are already in place in
British-Colombia, Nova Scotia and in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
"Quebec must follow these examples. Their decisions were based on
strong analysis and despite pressure from industry, they wisely decided
to shut the door on uranium mining for health, security and
environmental reasons," confirms Ugo Lapointe from Québec meilleure mine.
Many communities are claiming their opposition to uranium mining in
Quebec. The Cree Nation of Mistissini (James-Bay / Eeyou Istchee), in
Northern Quebec, is one of them. "As protectors of the largest fresh
water lake in Quebec, Lake Mistassini, we strongly oppose any uranium
development. It goes against our way of life and our beliefs. As
opposed to other form of tailings, such as that from the Stornoway mine
also on our territory, waste from this type of mine stays radioactive
for thousands of years, and that is socially unacceptable. We are all
here today to say out loud that uranium should not be mined in Quebec"
said the Mistissini Council Chief Richard Shecapio.
Today's announcement follows the initiative of the Mayor of Amqui,
Gaëtan Ruest, whose municipal council passed a strong resolution
against uranium and who forwarded the resolution to the municipalities
of Quebec asking them to adopt similar resolutions. So far, over 300
Quebec municipalities have done so and there is an objective to reach
500 municipalities in the next few months. Details can be found here:
Chief Ghislain Picard from the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and
Labrador (AFNQL) also applauded the group initiative. "We would like to
thank Mayor Ruest for his important initiative and we call upon more
First Nations and Quebec municipalities to do the same and send a
strong message to the Government of Quebec."
The Government of Quebec pledged to hold an independent inquiry on
uranium mining in Quebec. A recent Léger marketing survey showed that
62% of Quebecers are in favor of a moratorium on uranium mining. This
number rises to 78% in favor of a broad, independent impact assessment
on uranium mining before any projects is approved. "The Government has
everything they need to announce a moratorium and follow-up on their
promise to hold an independent inquiry on uranium mining in Quebec,"
concluded Philippe Bourke, Director of the Regroupement national des
conseils régionaux de l'environnement.
Organizations supporting today's press conference include: The Cree
Nation of Mistissini, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and
Labrador, the City of Amqui, the Regroupement national des conseils
régionaux de l'environnement, the Coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine, the Mouvement Sortons le Québec du nucléaire, the Canadian coalition
for nuclear responsibility, the Canadian association of physicians for
the environment, Physicians for global survival, Sept-Îles sans
uranium, Minganie sans uranium, Baie-James/Eeyou Istchee Sans uranium,
Mouvement vert Mauricie, l'Association de protection des
Hautes-Laurentides, Nature Québec, the Suzuki Foundation and
SOURCE: Coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleur mine
For further information:
Bella Loon - Communications Officer
Cree Nation of Mistissini
Mylène Bergeron and Anne-Sophie Desprez