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Second CEAA Panel Gives New Prosperity Project Another Scathing Review

A second strongly negative CEAA Panel report released October 31, 2013 (after an initial damning CEAA Panel report in 2010 and a federal thumbs down in 2010) makes it strike three against Taseko's proposed "New Prosperity" mine.  Responses from all of us who have written, spoken and testified against this project demonstrate an overwhelming approval of this report and none can see that the next federal government decision on this project will be anything other than a resounding, and final, "NO!"

At Friends of the Nemaiah Valley we are extremely pleased that the independent panel reviewing Taseko's new Prosperity Mine proposal listened and heard our concerns and came to the conclusion that the mine would have significant adverse environmental effects on water quality and fish, that Fish Lake would die under their plan to mechanically recirculate water forever, and that impacts on the threatened Chilcotin grizzly bear, already suffering from significant adverse cumulative effects, would be exacerbated, and Taseko's attempts at mitigation would be "challenging".

We feel further vindicated that the panel finds that impacts on aboriginal rights will be adverse and significant and cannot be mitigated. This is an area of great cultural significance to First Nations, it is their unceded land, and no such developments should take place without their full consent.

Taseko's misguided project and antiquated method for pushing this project must now be relegated to the dustbin of history."

“We are victorious! The panel listened to us and formally determined the project would ‘adversely affect’ the title and rights for the Tsilhqot’in and Secwepemc. What a win for us.” (Xeni Gwet'in FNG Councillor and UBCIC secretary-treasurer, Marilyn Baptiste)

“The company has now been given two chances in the space of three years, which is unprecedented.  It is clear that the project is not acceptable.  Besides reaffirming the belief in our culture, this project is a waste of time, and should be rejected once and for all.  We would rather focus on ideas and projects that are appropriate culturally and environmentally, and therefore meet our vision for the land based on our value system.” (Yunesit’in FNG Chief Russell Myers Ross)
Elder Patrick Lulua, XGFNG Councilor Marilyn Bapstite, Elder and Healer Gilbert Solomon with water from Chilko Lake, on it's way to Ottawa

Taseko has stated that they "will challenge these findings as they contradict best practices in place around the world today and expert opinion and analysis" yet their own experts were obviously unable to prove this statement before an independent Panel.

Overall, the Panel concluded that the "New Prosperity" project would result in several  significant adverse environmental effects; the key ones being effects on water quality in Fish Lake (Teztan Biny), on fish and fish habitat in Fish Lake, on current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by certain Aboriginal groups, and on their cultural heritage. The Panel also concluded there would be a significant adverse cumulative effect on the South Chilcotin grizzly bear population unless necessary mitigation efforts are effectively implemented.

The Panel reported that there would be significant adverse effects on Tsilhqot'in cultural heritage  and that the effects would be irreversible, of high magnitude and long term and "cannot be mitigated."

In terms of water quality, the Panel found they were "unable to accept Taseko's conclusion that the water treatment options proposed would effectively mitigate the adverse effects."  (Links to the Full Panel Report and Executive Summary)

Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment needs to hear your voice before the final decision is made.  That decision is due by the end of February, 2014.  You can contact her at or use the Sierra Club of B.C.'s online letter HERE.

This report gives a big boost to those heading to Ottawa on the "Indigenous Land Title Express: the Tsilhqot'in Journey for Justice”.  Along the way, the Tsilhqot'in travellers have been meeting with other First Nations and sharing information about their appeal case before the Supreme Court of Canada on November 7th.  This case seeks recognition of the Tsilhqot'in peoples' inherent title to their lands and territories. The ruling on this case will have consequences for all First and non-First Nations across Canada.

FONV is pleased to be a funder of Jeremy Williams, filmmaker, as he travels with the bus, filming this historic event: Tsilhqot'in Journey for Justice (Video, pt. 1)

The SCC case will be webcast at 9:00 a.m. eastern time:  Supreme Court Webcasts.  Note that there are links on the right hand side to "minimum requirements" to access the webcast.
Drummers wishing the Indigenous Land Title Express a safe journey to Ottawa

These are momentous days for Aborignal rights and environmental protection in Canada.

Posted by: Admin. Saturday Nov 02, 2013 13:25
Categories: CEAA, Tsilhqot'in | Tags: aboriginal, activism, court case, Marilyn Baptiste, Ottawa, Prosperity Mine, rights and title, Xeni Gwet'in

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