Guest display: Fix Canadian mining problems now. | Columnist | Instant News

For nearly two decades, regulators, scientists, governors, senators and US tribes from all four border countries have raised concerns with British Columbia’s leadership about coal mining pollution entering Montana and Idaho from large coal mines near Fernie, BC and hard rock mining pollution. threatening Washington and Alaska. This concern has been filled with silence and continuing “business as usual.”

British Columbia’s mining laws are far weaker than in the United States. Canadian regulators know this. In 2016, British Columbia’s Auditor General himself wrote a scathing report about the province’s mining operations upstream of the Kootenai River, saying that B.C. allow selenium levels that threaten aquatic life and human health and safety. According to the report, “We found more than a decade of neglect in compliance and enforcement program activities within the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and significant deficiencies in Ministry of Environment activities.”

In February, the EPA U.S. expressed “serious concern” about the latest data showing mining poisons in the U.S. drains. Despite that trend, Canada approves mine expansion even when operators admit that they cannot control mine contamination and will continue to exceed Canadian and US pollution permits.

History shows that the Boundary Waters Agreement has worked effectively for more than a century. Indeed, cross-border water disputes were precisely the reason the treaty was signed in 1909 – to ensure that the two neighboring countries would respect the waters shared with each other, and protect each other’s communities. It is noteworthy that the IJC has spent a lot of effort over the past decade to reduce pollution from US waters flowing north to Canada. Now is the time for Canada to tackle pollution that flows south into the U.S. waters.


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