Photo by Michael J Ready, ILCP and photo below by Justin Black, ILCP.

Speak up: Castle mine needs a federal environmental assessment

Teck’s proposed Castle mine, which will produce more coal than any other mine in the country, won’t have a federal environmental assessment—unless the people demand one.

You may already have weighed in on BC’s provincial environmental assessment of the Castle coal mine, but now is the time to demand a more thorough federal assessment.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson needs to hear that Castle Mountain must have a full federal review for another 25 square kilometres and decades more of mining in the Elk Valley. There’s never even been a federal environmental assessment of any of Teck’s Elk Valley coal mines.

Unfortunately, a provincial assessment isn’t likely to take a hard look at the failures of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan, which is letting Teck pollute rivers at dangerous levels for millenia. A provincial assessment will ignore water pollution that crosses the border into the US. A provincial assessment is less likely to take a serious look at the climate impact of a coal mine that will operate beyond 2050. And a provincial assessment does less to protect species at risk like grizzly bears, wolverines and cutthroat trout.

A provincial assessment, despite all of our efforts, might just rubber stamp a whole lot more coal mining, just as it has three times in the last decade.

Ask Minister Wilkinson to designate the Castle Mine for a federal environmental assessment with a review panel today. Your message can be a simple request or you can add to it in your own words (but a general statement of opposition to the mine won't help here).

  • The Minister should designate the Castle coal mine expansion for a federal environmental assessment, with a review panel to fully assess the long-term, cumulative impacts of the mine in the Elk Valley context.
  • Fish and fish habitat are a federal responsibility—and water pollution that puts fish in danger in the Elk Valley is a major problem from the mines.
  • Water pollution from the Elk Valley is flowing over 200km through the Kootenai River in the US (and then back into Canada)—and pollution crossing borders is a federal responsibility.
  • Canada must protect federally-listed species at risk including westslope cutthroat trout in the Elk Valley, white sturgeon in the Kootenay River, and grizzlies and wolverines roaming in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Canada can’t keep mining coal until 2050 and beyond. Planning for decades of coal mining goes against our climate commitments.
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