Photo: Alec Underwood

BC and Canada must stand with First Nations to clean up coal mine pollution in the Elk Valley

For decades, mountaintop removal coal mining has been leaching contamination into the Elk-Kootenay River System. Deemed by some as Canada’s largest-ever contamination crisis, selenium, nitrates, sulphates, and other pollutants are threatening species at risk like westslope cutthroat trout, regional water security, and downstream communities.

Regulatory negligence by the province of British Columbia, and the apathy of the Canadian government are to blame for the ongoing crisis. The transboundary Ktunaxa Nation along with the U.S. government and the states of Montana and Idaho have requested urgent action to stop the flow of pollution. The solution is an Indigenous-led International watershed board that can make transparent and impartial, science-based recommendations to try and solve the problem. Act now to tell BC and Canada to stand with First Nations and the environment to stop coal mine pollution from flowing down the Elk River. There is no time to wait – your voice is urgently needed to end the contamination crisis.

Since the early days of mountaintop removal coal mining, the province has ignored their duty to protect water quality in the region, instead prioritising corporate profits and tax revenue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed that a solution needs to be found this summer to reduce the impacts of water pollution in the Elk-Kootenay River System. Add your voice to make sure they keep their word.

Use our prewritten letter below to send Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier David Eby a message: we need science-based solutions to end the decades-long selenium contamination crisis in the Elk-Kootenay River System. We need an International Joint Commission indigenous-led watershed board on the Elk-Kootenay River System this year to finally prioritise the environment and downstream communities over corporate profit and tax revenues.

Photo: Alec Underwood