Mine would cause little damage

Doug Wilson, in his letter to the editor, supports New Prosperity mine but questions fracking for natural gas.

Editor:

Recent criticisms of Taseko Mines’ ability to protect the Taseko River watershed questions the mining company’s skills and obligation to protect this watershed. One wonders why such a question would even arise. We certainly have the right to expect that the extensive mining experience of Taseko would be able to provide us with professional results, coupled with environmental regulations.

Many agree with the philosophy of First Nation elder Ervin Charleyboy that young First Nations people should be proactive and take necessary training in advance of such a project. First Nations people could be taking the training right now to be the professional watch dogs — yes, possibly even employed by Taseko to ensure that even the minutest environmental failure of any of the proposed mine facilities be rectified in the shortest possible time, not only protecting the Taseko River watershed but the general environment as well.

Regarding water pollution and environmental damage to our eco system, the price of natural gas is uncharacteristically low; this is because of a process called fracking. Fracking is pumping surface water, sand, and chemicals into the ground to fracture shale rock releasing otherwise inaccessible natural gas. It takes approximately 200 tanker truck-loads of water to fracture just one well.

Fracking is keeping the price of natural gas low, at the expense of the unrecoverable use of water. Additionally, this process has the potential to dewater and pollute aquifers, putting the health of the public at risk as some of this chemically laden water makes its way back to the surface endangering rivers and streams.

It is estimated that the water used in approximately 35,000 U.S. fracked wells in 2010 would be enough water to supply 80 or more cities the size of Williams Lake.

When fracking comes to the Cariboo-Chilcotin, water will be pumped into the ground to release the natural gas stored beneath this area, and yes eventually it could happen here.

The New Prosperity mine, with its built-in safeguards coupled with the prompt action of dedicated environmental watch people, will cause very little environmental damage compared to the North American oil and gas industry’s growing water use.

Gas drilling companies are currently using fracking technology here in B.C., having used approximately 260 million gallons of surface water in 2010; let’s keep New Prosperity’s environmental footprint in perspective.

 

Doug Wilson

Williams Lake