DEASE LAKE, BC, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - The Tahltan Central Council (TCC) expects that today's decision by the Supreme Court of Canada will prompt the federal government to conduct a full comprehensive environmental assessment of the proposed Red Chris Mine.
The Court found that government authorities acted in contravention of its environmental assessment legislation but granted no remedy based on a technicality. Specifically, the Court found that a comprehensive review of the proposed mine was warranted and ought to have been conducted but was not. This ruling supports the Tahltan People's position that there has never been a proper review of the effects of the mine on Tahltan Territory. However, the Court did not order that a comprehensive review be conducted because the case was brought forward by Mining Watch which had no direct interest in the outcome of the proceeding. Additionally, evidence of the inadequacies of the assessment was not before the Court. The Court, therefore, provided no remedy. This is distressing to the Tahltan Nation.
"The proposed Red Chris Mine will have serious, long-lasting effects on Tahltan Territory," said Ms. Annita McPhee , Chair of the Tahltan Central Council. "For many years, the Tahltan People have stressed the importance of a comprehensive and transparent assessment of the proposed mine that would form the basis for meaningful consultation and accommodation. We hope that the federal government will recognize today's decision from the Court as an opportunity to finally begin this needed review."
"Although the Court did not have our specific and serious concerns in front of them," said McPhee, "the government and Red Chris are well aware of them. We expect the federal government and Red Chris Mines to act in good faith and to now agree that additional information gathering, studies and analysis is needed for there to be a full understanding of the project on Tahltan Title, rights, and way of life. Given that the Court has found that the federal environmental assessment was unlawful, to not do so would not uphold the honour of the Crown."
The Tahltan People will be continuing to pursue all available steps to ensure that their rights are recognized, respected and protected.
For further information: For further information: Annita McPhee, Chair, Tahltan Central Council, at (778) 229-1264