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Liberals Denounce Taseko's Attempts to "Fix" Hearings

For Immediate Release
May 3, 2012

Liberals Denounce Attempts to Limit Aboriginal Participation in Environmental Review Process

OTTAWA— Aboriginal peoples have a right to fully participate in all federal environmental assessments that could affect their way of life and any attempt by industry to change that should be vehemently rejected by the federal government, said Liberals today.

“Taseko Mines Limited is trying to sway the Conservative government into excluding Aboriginal peoples’ participation in the environmental review of a project that would affect First Nation communities in the area,” said Liberal Aboriginal Affairs critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett. “Minister Kent must make it clear that Taseko’s position is unacceptable, and will not be included in the terms of reference for the upcoming environmental review of the Prosperity Mine project.”

On November 23, 2011, the President and CEO of Taseko Mines Limited wrote a letter to Minister of the Environment Peter Kent requesting that an environmental assessment for a mining project in British Columbia bar Aboriginal peoples from the panel selection process, ban Aboriginal prayers or ceremonies and ignore any spiritual impact of the project. A previous environmental review panel concluded that the Taseko project would have a significant adverse effect on the surrounding bodies of water and fish habitat.

“An earlier environmental assessment of this project was rejected because of the stress it would place on the surrounding fish habitat,” said Liberal Environment critic Dr. Kirsty Duncan. “Now it seems the company would prefer to exclude the groups who are critical of the project’s environmental impact rather than addressing the reasons it failed a previous assessment. Simply put, Taseko’s behaviour illustrates a lack of respect for the whole process.”

Taseko’s efforts to exclude Aboriginal peoples’ participation in the environmental review process come to light in the wake of the government’s budget implementation bill which would see a gutting of the entire overview system to streamline resource development projects.

“Buried in this government’s recent budget bill is an incoherent plan to cut out the federal government’s role in the environmental assessment process,” said Liberal Energy and Natural Resources critic David McGuinty. “Resource development that is not in full collaboration with relevant Aboriginal communities is not only irresponsible, it is unconstitutional.”

The Liberal letter to Environment Minister Peter Kent can be viewed HERE.

Posted by: Pat Swift Thursday May 03, 2012 16:57
Categories: Taseko | Tags: aboriginal, Ottawa, Prosperity Mine, Tsilhqot'in

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