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Oct. 10 2013
In one of her first tests as Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq will give thumbs up or down to a proposed mine in British Columbia that is a new version of a plan tossed out as ecologically disastrous by a former Conservative minister.
Chiefs from Tsilhqot’in First Nations say they have no doubt that a federal environmental assessment panel, which is weeks away from delivering a verdict on the New Prosperity mine at Fish Lake in the B.C. Interior, will reject it out of hand.
They say the plan for the billion-dollar gold-and-copper pit that Taseko Mines Ltd. wants to dig near the lake the Tsilhqot’in call Teztan Biny – a small body of water they consider culturally and spiritually sacred – is just as bad as the earlier version thrown out in 2010 by former environment minister Jim Prentice.
Representatives from environmental groups who sat in on the panel’s hearings this summer say they are cautiously optimistic it is preparing to say no to the mine. Scientists from Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Fisheries and Oceans, as well officials from B.C.’s provincial ministries, expressed significant concerns about the project.