YES, I demand the B.C. government implement a polluter-pay system for mining companies.
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The Mount Polley tailings dam failure unleashed billions of litres of contaminated sludge — destroying a salmon stream, dumping mine waste into Quesnel Lake and sending a plume of toxic chemicals down the Fraser River. To this day, the company responsible has faced no charges, fines or penalties. Instead, taxpayers spent $40 million to clean up the company’s mess.
British Columbia needs to adopt a polluter pay system. Across B.C., mines continue to pollute watersheds long after companies have walked away. We can’t keep taxpayers on the hook for disasters and deserted mines.
The combination of outdated Gold Rush-era mining laws and political figures cozying up to industry have made it easy for mining companies to get away with disasters like the Mount Polley mine and the defunct Tulsequah Chief Mine.
But the recent appointment of MLA Bruce Ralston to the Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources presents an opportunity to chart a new path forward to hold mining companies accountable.