February 05, 2014 - 1:22 PM
KAMLOOPS — A group of Kamloops residents that have been fighting the proposed Ajax Mine are now demanding the mining minister resign after he tried to persuade the federal government to ignore the review panel recommendation to decline Prosperity Mine near William's Lake.
The group fears Bill Bennett, who went to Ottawa to talk to the Minister of Environment's Leone Aglukkaq about not following the review panel recommendation to decline the application for Taseko's Prosperity Mine, will also try the same tactics to push Ajax Mine through.
In a release this morning the group notes his comments that he is 'going to seek to influence the decision' and that he 'wasn't surprised by the panel's findings, as mines cannot be built without causing significant environmental issues' are reason for concern given he is one of three ministers required to approve or decline the KGHM application.
“(We) are deeply concerned that Minister Bennett will attempt to persuade both the federal and provincial ministers of the environment to approve the KGHM Ajax application, and to ignore the findings of the environmental assessment process should the application be rejected,” they said in the release. “The concerned volunteers, and many others have dedicated countless hours to ensure the highest level of protection for our local environment and the health of our 87,000 residents.
“We demand Minister Bennett’s resignation at once to ensure that the current environmental assessment of the KGHM Ajax Mine proposal, and the efforts of the volunteers to protect the environment in our community and the health of our residents are not undermined. His blatant attempts to persuade the federal government to ignore the findings and recommendations of the Taseko Mine environmental assessment Review Panel makes a mockery of the environmental review process in this province.”
It is not the first time the group has questioned the provincial government and the environmental assessment process. Even Kamloops City Council has asked for a federal review of the project, most recently when Mayor Peter Milobar met with Aglukkaq in Ottawa, to ensure a full and proper review is held so no matter the decision the public can be put at ease over the project.
The group that issued the release demanding the resignation of Bennett includes members of Kamloops Area Preservation Association, Kamloops Moms for Clean Air, Aberdeen Community Association and Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment, and many are involved in more than one association. They include Don Barz, Dr. Twila Burgmann, Anthony Brummell, Tracy Hendry, Dr. Jason McGillivary, Ruth Madsen, Bev Markle, Gina Morris, Dr. Judith Naylor, Anne Neave, Trevor Owen, John Schleiermacher and Sam Strande.
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