Yesterday marked six years since the Mount Polley mine collapse dumped 25 billion litres of toxic waste into the Fraser watershed. The company responsible, Imperial Metals, still hasn’t faced charges.
There have been some important victories since that tailings dam failed. But even these point to deeper problems with B.C.’s colonial mining laws – problems the NDP government appears unwilling to tackle.
In May, the Tsilhqot’in finally defeated Taseko’s ludicrous New Prosperity gold mine proposal at the Supreme Court of Canada. But the province never should have green-lit the project, because the place where Taseko wanted to build their mine doesn’t belong to B.C. Teztan Biny is unceded, sovereign Tsilhqot’in land.
In the Skagit headwaters near Manning Park, another Imperial Metals project is stalled – after you and I and people across B.C. voiced our outrage at the company trying to drill for more gold without cleaning up their last disaster. Again, it’s a proposal that never should have come forward.
That’s why Dogwood is stepping back from project-by-project battles on the mining front, to focus on underlying issues around Indigenous rights, climate and democratic reform. We’re proud to have been a founding member of the B.C. Mining Law Reform Network, and I encourage you to follow that coalition’s ongoing work. It’s also important to support the local groups holding the line against greed and environmental destruction all over the province.
Wildsight is fighting to protect the rivers of the East Kootenays from pollution by Teck’s coal mines, including a massive new proposal called the Castle Mine. Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake is working to get Imperial Metals’ mine waste discharge pipe out of an important waterway for spawning salmon. The Tsilhqot’in community of ʔEsdilagh (Alexandria First Nation) is using Indigenous law to protect the Fraser River from mine effluent. And the What Matters in Our Valley coalition is tracking another multinational coal mining proposal in Telkwa.
If you’re interested in these battles I recommend subscribing to The Narwhal and The Tyee to stay informed. But none of us can take all of this on at once. And right now it feels like every time we cut the head off the hydra, two more sprout in its place.
We will never get the changes we need in B.C., from any political party, so long as corporations wield power over the landbase like it’s still the 1800s. Check out our current campaigns, and keep an eye out for new actions coming this summer and fall.
That’s why Dogwood is taking some time this summer to refocus our strategic plan. We’re a provincial organization that specializes in grassroots organizing and digital storytelling. We need to use those powers at key moments to transform our politics in B.C., so David can beat Goliath more often – and more quickly, because we’re running out of time.
Thank you for your support of our work on mining reform so far. Together we’ve been a part of some important victories. I hope you’ll stay with us to see what we roll out in the fall.