Lobbying no substitute for sustainable mine design: Cullen

MP Nathan Cullen says that on the heels of the Prime Minister’s commitment yesterday to uphold Ottawa’s recent rejection of Prosperity Mine, British Columbia politicians must accept that political lobbying cannot overturn the findings of environmental assessments.

“Some BC politicians have tried to grandstand on Prosperity, claiming they will lobby to overturn the panel’s decision,” said Cullen, noting candidate pledges to do so in the heated Liberal leadership race that ends this Saturday.

“But sustainable development is about better design and consultation – not backroom muscle.”

In November 2010, federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice rejected Taseko’s proposed $800-million Prosperity gold and copper mine located 125 km southwest of Williams Lake.  Prentice cited an environmental assessment that found the mine would have serious impacts on fish habitat and wildlife, as well as First Nations.

“Mining companies are beginning to understand that better relations with First Nations and environmentally sustainable designs are the way to do business in BC,” said Cullen.  “I was pleased to see former minister Jim Prentice underline this with his decision on Fish Lake last year.”

“This is the new reality for resource development – projects must be built on sound science, solid economics and a social license from affected communities.”

“As stewards of these lands and resources, we can and must do better.”

The Prime Minister pledged to uphold his government’s rejection of the Prosperity proposal as submitted last year while speaking to reporters yesterday about being lobbied by a new BC Liberal leader and premier to reverse the Prosperity decision.

Meanwhile, Taseko Mines Ltd has submitted a revised proposal for Prosperity Mine that the company says would not require the destruction of Fish Lake.