Conditions in the Elk Valley, a little ways to the west, serve as a reminder of why it is so important to fight extractive industry in the transboundary Flathead watershed. . . .
Last week the Canadian government charged Teck Resources with three environmental violations after 74 fish were killed near the mining company’s treatment facility in British Columbia’s Elk Valley north of Montana, elevating concerns over contaminants entering transboundary waterways.
The fish were found dead in late 2014 and an investigation determined they died from nitrite poisoning and low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. The deaths occurred near one of Teck’s open-pit coal mines and treatment facility.
The charges followed an investigation by the company.
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A coalition of Canadian environmental groups is not happy with the progress shown by British Columbia and the Canadian federal government on implementing U.N. World Heritage Committee recommendations for the protection of the Elk and Flathead valleys . . .
B.C. Government Ignores World Heritage Committee Recommendations for Flathead and Elk Valleys
The B.C. and federal governments have failed to act on World Heritage Committee recommendations aimed at protecting a globally-significant wildlife corridor that includes the Flathead River Valley, conservation groups said today.
“The World Heritage Committee was very clear about the need to secure this important connection for wildlife,” said Wildsight Executive Director John Bergenske. “Yet new mines are planned for the Elk Valley without a full cumulative effects analysis–at the same time as the Auditor General warns that B.C. is failing to protect biodiversity.”
In a report card released today, the third anniversary of the Flathead energy and mining ban announced in February 2010, conservation groups assess progress on five detailed recommendations made by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
The recommendations speak to the need for: a single conservation and wildlife management plan; prioritizing natural ecological values and wildlife conservation; a long-term moratorium on mining in southeastern B.C to ensure wildlife connectivity; improved coordination between the governments of B.C. and Montana, and; expanding Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park into part of the Flathead.
The report card concludes that the B.C. government has failed to comply with most of these key recommendations. It also points to a federally-owned coal block in the Flathead that is exempt from the B.C. ban on mining.
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