The Cree Nation urges the Quebec Government to heed the BAPE's recommendations regarding the uranium sector in northern Quebec

NEMASKA, EEYOU ISTCHEE, QC, July 17, 2015  /CNW/ - The Cree Nation welcomes the recommendations of the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) regarding the uranium sector in Quebec. The BAPE's report was released to the public today, following a year-long, province-wide inquiry and public consultation process, which included the largest number of public submissions ever received by the BAPE.

"The BAPE's report confirms what the Cree Nation has long maintained: that uranium development poses unique and significant risks for our lands, our environment, our communities and our future generations," said Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come. "The report reflects what we observed in the consultation process, that the overwhelming majority of the population, in Cree communities and across Quebec, oppose uranium development."

"We have said from the start that once Quebecers learn the facts about uranium, the risks it poses, and the questions that cannot be adequately answered, they would join with us in opposing uranium development," Grand Chief Coon Come continued. "The Cree Nation greatly appreciates the support we have received on this issue from other Aboriginal peoples and from individuals, groups and municipalities across Quebec."

In its report, the BAPE Commission concluded that there remains significant uncertainty and gaps in existing scientific and technological knowledge regarding uranium mining, the management of uranium waste, and the associated health and environmental impacts. In regard to the territory subject to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, including the Cree Nation's territory of Eeyou Istchee, the BAPE Commission recommended that social acceptability must be a priority consideration in any future decisions regarding uranium development.

"The social acceptability of proposed development projects in Eeyou Istchee is a fundamental part of the successful relationship of partnership and respect between the Crees and Quebec," Grand Chief Coon Come noted. "The BAPE has recognized that the special legal framework and social institutions that govern in Eeyou Istchee must play a central role in legitimate decision-making about development in our territory."

The Cree Nation's stand against uranium development began in 2008 when Strateco Resources applied to the Quebec Government to pursue the Matoush advanced uranium exploration project. Located on the family hunting grounds of the Cree Nation of Mistissini, at the crest of two major watersheds that bring water throughout Eeyou Istchee, the Matoush project was the most advanced uranium project to date in Quebec. The Government of Quebec has since denied the required permit for the Matoush project, due largely to its lack of social acceptability amongst the Cree Nation.

For more information on the Cree Nation's position on uranium development, please visit: http://standagainsturanium.com/

To access a copy of the BAPE's report on the uranium industry in Quebec (available in French only), please visit: http://www.bape.gouv.qc.ca/sections/rapports/publications/bape308.pdf

To access an English and Cree version of the Summary and Conclusions of the BAPE's report as well as the joint-report prepared by the BAPE Commission, the Commission of the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment (JBACE) and the Commission of the Kativik Environmental Advisory Committee (KEAC), please visit: http://www.bape.gouv.qc.ca/sections/rapports/publications/bape308_cri_anglais.pdf

SOURCE The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)

For further information: Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief, GCC, Telephone: (613) 761-1655; Bill Namagoose, Executive Director, GCC, Cellular: (613) 725-7024; Jessica Orkin, Legal counsel, Cellular: (514) 260-2622

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The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)

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