By Gordon Hoekstra.
There will be no regulatory charges laid under B.C.’s environmental laws for the Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley tailings-dam failure in 2014. One of the largest mining-dam failures in the world in the past 50 years, it had shaken the industry and caused concerns that aquatic life would be harmed, particularly salmon that use the Quesnel Lake system to spawn.
There remains a possibility of federal charges under the Fisheries Act. The three-year deadline to lay provincial charges in a court proceeding — which would need to be approved by B.C. Crown counsel — ends Friday. But a B.C.-federal investigation isn’t complete and will not be finished by Friday, Chris Doyle, B.C. Conservation Officer Service deputy chief, said Wednesday.
“It’s important to note that the limitation period of a particular piece of legislation — that’s just one of the considerations agencies must make during the course of these investigations,” said Doyle, responding to a question on why there would be no charges under B.C. laws. “Other factors include the complexity of a situation and the amount of information that needs to be gathered and analyzed.”
In a written statement, B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said British Columbians should know the overall objective continues to be ensuring a “complete investigation.”
… There has been concern — among environmentalists, First Nations and some residents in the area of the Mount Polley mine — that the deadline to lay provincial charges would be missed. “That’s the fear we’ve had,” said Jacinda Mack, coordinator of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining and a member of the Xatsull First Nation. She said the company should be held accountable at the provincial level under its laws. If a company is involved in a major disaster, there should be some consequence, said Mack.
Minister’s statement about Mount Polley investigation. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017ENV0044-001377