Key Hearing on How Mega-Mines Get Approved
Feds broke own rules on public input: Mining Watch.
View full article and comments here http:///News/2008/05/15/MineHearing/
By Christopher Pollon
Published: May 15, 2008
An appeal case being heard today in Vancouver will have a profound effect on how resource-based mega-projects are reviewed by the federal government, and in particular, the ability of the public to provide comment and meaningful input.
Last September, the federal court ruled that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) acted illegally in shielding the proposed Red Chris copper and gold mine from a comprehensive environmental assessment (EA), including mandatory public consultation.
Arguments for this original case were made by Ecojustice, on behalf of MiningWatch Canada, who alleged the federal government broke its own laws when it chose to do a limited screening of selected impacts of the Red Chris project.
Justice Luc Martineau agreed with MiningWatch Canada and ordered that the necessary federal permits needed by Red Chris be denied until a more in-depth EA be completed.
With that decision now under appeal, it will probably be months before federal and provincial government agencies, industry and environmentalists know whether the fight has been lost or won.
“If we win, [the federal government] will have to do a comprehensive environmental assessment for any mine over a certain size,” says MiningWatch Canada National Coordinator Joan Kuyek. “If we lose, it will revert to letting the responsible [federal] authorities determine the track of the project review, and to pursue a strategy of rushing it through at all costs.”
Breaking its own laws?