An example of a provincial versus federal panel review

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on September 4th, 2011 11:20am

West Coast Environmental Law has a great article comparing the provincial and federal reviews provided for the Prosperity Copper Mine that was proposed near Williams Lake. It's a great example of why we are demanding a federal panel review for the Ajax Mine near Kamloops. 

It was clear through their comparison that there should be a single assessment process:

"The Prosperity Mine assessments represent an important case study about the differences between the federal and provincial assessment procedures and raise significant questions about the benefits and challenges of working towards a single, combined assessment process, as has been proposed by both levels of government. "

Some of the findings of the provincial report:

  • There is only one significant adverse effect and it is limited to a discrete location. …
  • The Proponent’s Fish Habitat Compensation Program would go a significant way to addressing the impacts of the loss of Fish Lake.
  • Costs and benefits would be shared among present and future generations in a reasonably equitable manner.  Most direct benefits would accrue to the present generation, which would also experience the loss of Fish Lake with an approximate seven year period during which Prosperity Lake would not yet be established.  Future generations would benefit generally from the longer term economic and community development the project would provide in the region, and though they will not have the benefit of Fish Lake, Prosperity Lake [a man-made lake intended to replace Fish Lake] would have been established by that time.  

Meanwhile, the federal assessment found...

The Panel concludes that the Project would result in significant adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat, on navigation, on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by First Nations and on cultural heritage, and on certain potential or established Aboriginal rights or title. The Panel also concludes that the Project, in combination with past, present and reasonably foreseeable future projects would result in a significant adverse cumulative effect on grizzly bears in the South Chilcotin region and on fish and fish habitat.

It's interesting to note that the federal review was opposed to the mine proposal, while the provincial assessment favoured it, and a key difference between the two assessments:

The Federal Process was carried out by a “review panel” – a panel of experts that was arms-length from the federal government.  The BC process was overseen by the province’s Environmental Assessment Office and a “working group” comprised primarily of provincial government employees who also have other job responsibilities. 

It's clear that the provincial assessment is not as comprehensive as a federal review, and by looking at it's structure who would expect the provincial review to be as extensive and informative. How would the residents of Williams Lake feel if they did not get a federal review and the mine was approved and set into motion? This is another reason why we demand a federal panel review of the proposed Ajax mine.

Again, here's the link to the full article on West Coast Environmental Law


Keith on 2011-09-04 23:34:00

This makes perfect sense! Why hasn't the City of Kamloops already requested a federal panel review?

Judith Naylor on 2011-09-06 08:59:38

It seems that City Council are not even trying to understand the huge differences between a Full Federal Panel Review which removes political influence i.e Harper's indifference to "Green", and will give Kamloops the Gold Standard review for protection of the City and its residents. Are we going to allow ourselves to be treated as second class citizens with a mickey mouse B C review which takes at face value information given by the mine, and a Provincial actively funding this mine. The mind boggles. Come on Kamloops write to Minister of Environment in Ottawa, and demand a FULL FEDERAL PANEL REVIEW!!

Judith on 2011-09-08 08:18:18

This is an excellent review of why a Federal Review is needed and not a Comprehensive BC Environmental review which is already busy funding the Ajax Mine, instead of being concerned with the welfare of the Citizens of Kamloops.

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