Just to let everyone know the current status of the Telkwa Coal project, it continues to be under review in the BC Environmental Assessment Office.
The stage it is now at is called a draft Application Information Requirement (dAIR). This document went through a public comment period. What Matters in Our Valley (WMIOV), together with close to 200 others filed comments.
One area of major concern involves what are known as Valued Components and Intermediate Components.
Valued Components are those features of our Valley put at risk by the mine project that either must be protected, or if not protected then be the subject of some degree of mitigation for any negative consequences.
Intermediate Components are features that will impact Valued Components if affected by the project, but do not need to be protected in their own right.
Telkwa Coal has identified water (i.e. our rivers, streams, creeks, water sources and any other water bodies) as Intermediate Components, but not Valued Components. This means that, if the dAIR is approved, their project can be allowed to go through even if the mine will damage our waters.
Telkwa Coal does identify the following Valued Components: Fish and fish Habitat; Vegetation; Wildlife; Birds; Heritage Resources; Human Health.
However, when it comes to water, they just don’t think it is all that important standing on its own. So, as long as they can present a plan that, for example, doesn’t according to them put the fish or wildlife at risk, then it is alright to pollute the rivers and other waters.
We think this is fundamentally wrong. Given the current fragile state of our fish and other water-based resources, any additional negative impacts should not be allowed. We do not think that there is any mitigation that can make up for further damage to the aquatic environment.
But, beyond this, pure water and uncontaminated rivers are treasured features of our Valley. This has been true since the valley was first occupied by humans eons ago. It remains true today.
Telkwa Coal obviously just doesn’t get it. The Province should. The first step is for the Province to make water a Valued Component.
Please let our elected representatives at all levels know that we cherish our waters and they must receive the highest priority. You may also wish to contact the Environmental Assessment Office through Heather Noble (Heather.Noble@gov.bc.ca) and Matt Rodgers (Matthew.Rodgers@gov.bc.ca)
on behalf of WMIOV