The recent permit to Atlantic Power to increase the amount of creosote-treated rail tie burning at their Williams Lake biomass plant is very concerning to the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG).
We strongly oppose this rushed decision by B.C’s Ministry of Environment, and in our view Atlantic Power does not have the social license to proceed with this irresponsible plan.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation has many members, including youth and Elders with breathing problems. Many live near the plant, including those with respiratory issues at the Seniors Village. Their health, and the health of all Tsilhqot’in members in and near Williams Lake, has not been properly taken into account.
It is undetermined what the cumulative impact would be of the waste products in the soil and waterways. A precautionary approach should be utilized throughout this process.
TNG and its communities have the wood fibre that Atlantic Power claims is unavailable. We believe that sourcing local fibre will increase economic opportunities for our region, while at the same time reducing health risks in Williams Lake.
We encourage Atlantic Power, BC Hydro, local governments and all parties to slow down and give appropriate time for community input, and to choose an alternative path, instead of allowing the City of Williams Lake and surrounding area to be polluted with chemical waste.
Tsilhqot’in National Government Chiefs