Letter Shows Province has Ignored IHA Requests for Third Party Consultants

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on May 9th, 2013 8:19am

Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, we have found that Interior Health Authority had requested that "qualified third party consultants experienced in human health risk assessment be engaged to participate in the review of the study design and methodology plans and associated sub working groups. "

That request was made in July, 2012, and has been ignored by the Environmental Assessment Office as of March of this year. Because of the lack of transparency in this process, we had to file a Freedom of Information Act request to even get access to it, but we have attached the letter as well as an associated press releases sent out to the media last night. 

Kamloops Area Preservation Association

- News Release –

May 9, 2013

The Kamloops Area Preservation Association (KAPA) has obtained a letter written from Interior Health to the BC Environmental Assessment Office, stating that “Interior Health does not have adequate technical capacity to provide detailed comments on study design and methodology” for studies dealing with noise, dust dispersion, and human health impacts arising from the proposed Ajax copper-gold mine in Kamloops, B.C.

“The Interior Health letter strongly recommends to the EAO that qualified third party consultants experienced in human health risk assessment be hired.  The question is: has the EAO obtained this level of expertise since the letter was written nearly 10 months ago, on July 18, 2012?” asks KAPA spokesperson, John Schleiermacher.

“I know that as of March 13th of this year this wasn’t the case because Scott Bailey of the BC Environmental Assessment Office told the Kamloops Community Advisory Group meeting that day that the EAO was considering contracting third party expertise to ensure that the right scientific questions are being asked about the mine’s potential impacts on human health,” Schleiermacher added.

“If this isn’t happening, where is the scientific rigor that we’ve been promised by Environment Minister Terry Lake?” Schleiermacher asks.

“A lot of people are saying we need to wait for the science before passing judgment on Ajax.  But unless this third party expertise has been hired in the past two months, what assurance do we have that all the proper scientific studies are going to be done between now and September, the month the Proponent has said it will file its Application,” Schleiermacher wonders.

“The terms of reference for the Ajax environmental assessment haven’t even been finalized yet,” Schleiermacher points out.  “These terms of reference should not be finalized until the appropriate medical expertise has been hired to review what and how the Proponent proposes to study human health impacts from the proposed mine,” Schleiermacher argues.

“The BC Government knew about the lack of medical expertise in Interior Health almost a year ago, and it appears that nothing has been done to correct this deficiency.  What is just as bad is that we have had to resort to a Freedom of Information request to find this out, leading me to question the supposed openness and transparency we’ve been promised,” Schleiermacher concludes.

For further information, please contact John Schleiermacher, 250-374-7431.

Click here to view the complete letter from IHA.


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