Letter: Beautiful land beyond monetary value

The decision to allow a restart of operations at Mount Polley Mine sends a clear message.

Editor:

The decision to allow a restart of operations at Mount Polley Mine sends a clear message: the mining industry can be irresponsible about its tailings and poisonous by-products, and get away with it.

That there can be negligence and errors of omission by mining companies and no consequences, no penalties or fines and no consequences for their crime against the environment.

There is no doubt the company, engineers and workers were aware the tailings facility was insufficient, and that there was a definite possibility that it would breach.

Because nothing was done to remedy the situation, the worst disaster in the history of mining in North America happened.

That’s how things work in capitalist dictatorship where tax revenue from the highly-paid workers is a huge priority and the environment and watersheds matter not at all.

The campers at Raft Creek Campsite were evacuated at 5 a.m. on Aug. 4 and told to keep their animals away from the toxic sludge because of the arsenic and mercury in it.

The disaster area was sealed off to the public and Imperial Metals announced that 14.5 million cubic metres of effluent was released by the breach. Actually, it was 26.5 million cubic metres.

Did they not know how much effluent was in their badly overloaded and inadequate facility?

Why didn’t the company spend the money to reinforce the walls of their tailings facility when it became obvious there were problems with it?

Why was the tailings facility built where it was in the first place and not as far as possible from Quesnel Lake in the safest location they could find?

One other question: when will local politicians and businessmen and women realize there is more to life than their businesses and making money?

This beautiful land we are fortunate to live in is beyond monetary value.

I look forward to a full judicial inquiry into this disaster and appropriate fines and penalties assessed against Imperial Metals, and culpability (blame) for the disaster to be determined by the courts.

Michael Atwood

Williams Lake