ISKUT, BC, June 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Tahltan Central Council wants to remind
Premier Christy Clark and her new cabinet of a B.C. Liberal election
promise to protect the Sacred Headwaters of the Klappan in northwest
The First Nations authority, representing some 5,000 Tahltans, is
concerned that an environmental review of the controversial Arctos
Anthracite coal mine proposed for Tahltan territory is being fast
tracked -- at odds with a Liberal election promise to work to protect
the same Klappan region.
The 2013 B.C. Liberal election platform document states that the
provincial government will "examine the feasibility of a provincially
designated protected area in The Klappan."
But last week, at the request of the provincial government, federal
Environment Minister Peter Kent granted B.C. the right to conduct an
environmental assessment on Ottawa's behalf. This means that only one
environmental assessment, controlled by B.C.'s Environmental Assessment
Office, will occur instead of the usual two assessments - one
provincial, one federal.
The Arctos Anthracite Coal mine is a proposed open-pit mine that
threatens to irreparably damage the Sacred Headwaters of the Stikine,
Nass and Spatsizi rivers of the Klappan.
Tahltan Central Council President Annita McPhee said a higher level of
scrutiny is required.
"We were very disheartened by the B.C. government's attempt to fast
track the environmental review of this ecologically and culturally
destructive Arctos coal mine project," McPhee said Friday.
"It appears to be at odds with the Premier's election pledge to work on
protecting the Klappan."
The federal decision means only the British Columbia Environmental
Assessment Office (EAO) will assess the project and conduct required
The coal mine is a joint venture between Fortune Minerals and a
subsidiary of South Korea's POSCO - one of the largest steel producers
in the world.
The project proposes to operate in The Klappan for 25 years, producing
three million tonnes of anthracite coal per year to be shipped to steel
producers in Asia. The mine plan includes a new railway line to ship
the coal south for export through Prince Rupert.
Tahltans have successfully mounted opposition to industrial projects in
The Klappan before. Last December, after years of roadblocks, protests
and international attention, Shell Oil announced it abandoned its plans
for coal bed methane extraction from the region.
"The Klappan is sacred to the Tahltan people. Our people practice our
hunting, fishing, and traditional cultural activities there. It's why
we're fighting so hard to protect it," said McPhee.
The Arctos Anthracite project would impact 4,000 hectares of pristine
wilderness, according to documents provided to the B.C. government by
the Arctos Anthracite joint venture partners.
McPhee said Ottawa should never have been "offloaded" its role in
reviewing resource developments to the B.C. government alone.
"Canada has a responsibility to consult with our Nation, and recognize,
respect and protect our Aboriginal title and rights. It cannot do this
by delegating its consultation and environmental assessment
responsibilities to the B.C. government."
May 31, 2013 - Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's notice regarding Arctos Anthracite project:
March 16, 2013 - Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal and BC governments
regarding "substitution" of Environmental Assessments:
April 2, 2013 - Project Description from Arctos Anthracite Joint Venture submitted to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office:
Dec.18, 2012 - BC Government Press Release - "Agreement brings resolution to gas tenure in Northwest" - regarding
Shell Oil and the Klappan
SOURCE: Tahltan Central Council
For further information:
Annita McPhee, President, Tahltan Central Council
cell: (604) 754-9974