By Gavin Smith, WCEL.
B.C.’s new government is already seeing proof that it made the right move when it committed to reform environmental assessment and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Taseko Mines’ New Prosperity mine proposal, back in the spotlight again for another round of litigation, is a poster child for the failings of B.C.’s environmental assessment regime — and the need for change.
The Tsilhqot’in National Government is currently seeking an injunction to prevent Taseko from digging test pits and conducting geotechnical drilling under provincial approvals granted in the last days of the outgoing government….
B.C. granted an environmental assessment certificate for Taseko’s initial Prosperity mine proposal in 2010. Since then, there have been two federal assessments that rejected two versions of the project. Nonetheless, B.C. extended Taseko’s approval, and the company is seeking to amend its certificate since the mine proposal is now different from what B.C. initially approved
…. It’s obvious that there are some major underlying problems here. One of the key issues is B.C.’s weak Environmental Assessment Act. So, what’s wrong with the B.C. environmental assessment process in this picture?…… The result of all these shortcomings has been inefficiency, inconsistency, uncertainty and extensive legal conflict.
As the new provincial government begins to implement its welcome mandate to reform our environmental assessment regime, it should keep in mind B.C.’s assessment and approval of Taseko’s New Prosperity mine. It’s a clear example of why we must do better.