Union of BC Indian Chiefs Supports Full and Rigorous Federal Environmental Reviews

Press Release
January 21, 2010
(Vancouver BC, January 21, 2010) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) urgently calls upon the Government of Canada to adopt the findings of today’s Supreme Court of Canada decision of MiningWatch Canada v. Canada and apply the findings immediately to all mining, oil and gas proposals in British Columbia that are subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

“Given the virtual collapse of the BC Treaty process, the demise of the Recognition legislative reform initiative and the rising tide of litigation, the Government of Canada must heed the court’s warning that procedural shortcuts are unacceptable,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “This decision provides hope for Indigenous communities, such as those of the Tahltan Central Council, who call for full and rigorous studies to adequately assess the impacts on both the environment and our people. Proposals like Taseko’s Prosperity Mine, Terrane Metals' Mt. Milligan Project and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway certainly come to mind.”

In August 2007, Elders, youth and supporters of the Tsay Keh Nay People stood on the shore of Amazay Lake and spoke of the significance of the lake and the surrounding lands. Northgate Minerals proposed to use Amazay Lake as a tailings dump for their proposed Kemess North project. The Tsay Keh Nay People publicly objected to the destruction of this sacred lake and in March 2008 under immense public pressure both the Government of BC and Government of Canada rejected the proposal.

Grand Chief Phillip observed “For now, the Tsay Keh Nay People have been successful in protecting their lake and lands. For Indigenous communities, the touted short-term economic gains must be weighed against the deep and long-lasting impacts such large-scale proposals will have on our children’s children.”

Grand Chief Phillip concluded “The Union of BC Indian Chiefs fully supports the Tahltan Central Council and any Indigenous community to pursue all available steps to ensure that their rights are recognized, respected and protected.”

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Media inquires:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Phone: (604) 684-0231

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.