Taseko president Russell Hallbauer’s letter advising federal Environment Minister Peter Kent how to conduct the environmental assessment process for the New Prosperity mine proposal number 2 shouldn’t come as any surprise.
The last time around Taseko wanted panelist Nalaine Morin recused because, although she is qualified in the mining field, Taseko claimed she would be biased due to her role with the Tahltan Heritage Resources Environmental Assessment Team. They objected to the showing of the documentary Blue Gold and I was told there were complaints about the drumming ceremony. Taseko also didn’t like children presenting a play. Let’s be clear. Mr. Hallbauer and spokesman Brian Battison are using whatever means they have to get the mine up and running asap. That’s their job and they’re good at it. There are a few problems. One, the review process only studies the environmental damage. Two, the minister weighs the economic benefits against the environmental impacts. And three, the social impact on the people, who will be most affected by the location of the mine, gets short shrift. Proponents are willing to gamble that nothing will go sideways (gold/copper prices, unexpected environmental issues) to interfere with the plan. But people’s lifestyles will be affected by the mine’s very existence, no matter how the stars align, so why shouldn’t those concerns be weighed in the review process?
Taseko wants a “scientific” decision. Don’t we all. The question is, whose science?
Mine officials want everyone to believe they have all the answers, but during the first review a number of scientific experts found otherwise. Reminds me of the climate-change debate — who is right, your scientist or mine? Even more reason for the review panel to hear all sides of the issue.
Different subject. I haven’t figured out how shifting city property taxes from industry to residential will help our economic wheels go around. Won’t it just mean that residents will have a little less money to spend locally?
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.