Bennett has no business lobbying for mine

B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett has been to Ottawa twice in the last two months lobbying for New Prosperity Mine.

Editor:

B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett has been to Ottawa twice in the last two months lobbying for New Prosperity Mine.

Is he telling the federal government to disregard the environmental science that says the mine at Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) is a bad idea?

Is he telling the federal government to disregard the findings of the independent panel of mining professionals and the assessments by esteemed scientists from around the world who are saying the proposed mine will have significant environmental and cultural impacts that can’t be mitigated.

Bennett says he went to Ottawa to make sure the federal ministers were aware of the facts of the project.

Yet Bennett doesn’t have his own facts straight. He says New Prosperity is just a normal open pit mine like all the other mines in B.C., and that it could be built in an environmentally responsible way.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Bennett is wrong that New Prosperity is normal. The proposed mine will turn Fish Lake into an aquarium, relying on pumps in perpetuity to circulate the water.

No project in the world, let alone B.C., has ever attempted anything like this on such a large scale. Ever.

A top aquatic scientist from UBC told the panel that Fish Lake would be dead within 10 years, even with the pump circulation system. Bennett’s head seems firmly planted in the sand. He says he can’t understand why the federal panel ruled there is a likelihood of significant environmental impacts on Fish Lake.

Maybe he should read the panel report and quit trying to spin it. Maybe he should have attended the hearings like many of us did, so he could speak factually on the issues.

It seems that New Prosperity is a pipe dream in Mr. Bennett’s mind.

He is heavy on platitudes and rhetoric saying the mine “could” be built in an environmentally responsible way, yet when shown the facts and details of the environmental science that shows it can’t be, he is quick to look the other way. It’s a sham when economic interests overrule the environmental science in an environmental review process.

No wonder environments around the world are going to hell in a hand basket. Let’s hope that Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq does the right thing and rules against this New Prosperity proposal, and isn’t bullied by corporate interests and small-minded politicians from B.C. who put money first.

Sage Birchwater

Williams Lake