UVic environmental lawyer says Mount Polley mine ignored fix recommendations

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UVic environmental lawyer says Mount Polley mine ignored fix recommendations

An Environmental lawyer from the University of Victoria says the Mount Polley mine was previously told to fix the tailings pond.

Calvin Sandborn says the company didn’t act because they claimed it wasn’t a requirement.

“For the last decade they’ve been busy dismantling environmental laws, weakening the environmental assessment act and weakening enforcement. The Auditor General couple of years ago pointed out that government was not checking on whether or not any of the conditions in those permits were being enforced.”

Added Sandborn: “They knew in 2011 that a consultant had said, look, you gotta get that water out of the tailings pond – there’s too much water there, and some of those recommendations weren’t followed, in his words, because they weren’t required by law. The law needs to require that those kinds of tailings ponds are dealt with.”

Sandborn says a number of warnings also came from employees, in particular, the foreman of the mine, who had voiced their concerns to the company.

He noted the Ministry of Environment made cuts to their Mine Reclamation staff by fifty percent.

He’s also concerned taxpayers may bear some costs if the mine goes bankrupt.


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  1. This is another example of “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. The anti mining types will keep speculating on potential problems all to keep the public in a state of alarm over this. This has not turned out to be “BC’s Exxon Valdes” and was never close to being that serious. The facts are not in. Period. IF the mine goes bankrupt. IF. If the mine goes bankrupt, and other mines are closed if the anti mining types get their way, the people working there will lose their jobs. Which, fortunately for Calvin Sandborn, is not going to be a problem. He is at UVIC and is thus insulated from economic reality.

    • Excellent comment John.
      I heard this interview and he pulled out all the taxpayer funded cleanups for mines that closed long before regulations were tightened up. The bankruptcy is nothing more than fear mongering. But I’m sure the sharks are circling and looking for a way to bring on a lawsuit. And we know the only winners in lawsuits are lawyers.

      But- I think it would be reasonable for the government to bring in a fund that all operating mines pay into that can be used to offset cleanup costs relating to accidents such as this. It would be similar to the mine reclamation bonds but pooled to be used by all.

      I wonder why the City of Burnaby wasn’t fined or charged or sued when their contractor busted the Kinder Morgan pipeline and cause the local spill a few years ago. Environmental rules need to be strictly applied to municipalies as well as industry.

    • It’s not anti mining at all, it’s ignoring warnings from any credible sources, how can you ignore that !
      You point to the Exxon Valdez spill which by the way is not cleaned up and never will be because an oil spill can’t be cleaned up.
      Prince William sound is a dead zone still and I’m sure you all in favor of running tankers twice the size of the Exxon Valdez through treacherous waters unlike where the Exxon ran aground.

      • Only “Dead Zone” around here is in your comments Trev . . .

        The investigation has just started . . . but YOU as usual already have all the answers.

        Should have been here in the 90s Trev . . . we didn’t have any mining problems, we didn’t have any forestry problems, we just had a shrinking economy, high taxes and unemployment ! ! !

  2. I Flew a TV crew over the spill last Tuesday. It is truly amazing the power of water. It turned a little creek into a canyon. Aside from the heavy metals and mercury, that no one is talking about. I think the canyon will be an addition. Debris that looked like islands were floating in Quesnel lake. If it weren’t for Polly lake, taking the brunt of the spill. I think Quesnel lake would have been much worse off. Quesnel lake is a Williams lake holiday destination.
    And as far as fixing the dam on the tailing pond goes. It was apparently easier for Imperial metals to just donate to the Liberal election fund.

  3. Wow! An environmental lawyer from UVic; am I ever impressed! And I’m sure he’s unbiased. How could anyone think someone would be biased when associated with groups like the Farmworkers Legal Services, West Coast/UVic Environmental Law, First Nations groups, Environmental NGOs, and connections to the Ancient Forest Alliance, etc.

    Again it’s the game of the Progressives and their affiliates to try to interfere with our social standards and practices by using litigation after litigation and ‘misspeak’ after ‘misspeak’. Look at the Obamabots and bureaucracies infiltrated by Progressives in the US and their actions if you wish to see examples of the tactics used by these groups. These people are well-funded by international ‘charities’ and puppet masters of the Soros ilk.

    John has it right with his “never let a good crisis go to waste comment” – especially when you can make it look worse than what it is. Global warming anybody?

    I an really starting to wonder how heavily NW has been infiltrated by these groups and philosophies. They seem to spend a lot of energy looking for quotations from these groups.

  4. You right wingers are looking to sweep this under the rug, only the money counts for you people! BC can be destroyed and it will not bother you as long as the money is right! Recall coming Nov 17th 2014 is the starting gate! .

    • Ken – is this really the best you can do? I don’t remember seeing anyone ‘saying’ they want it “swept under the rug” or wanting our province “destroyed” or that money is the most important issue. Most of us “evil right wingers” are looking for cool heads to prevail, the damage and causes for it assessed properly (that means based on SCIENTIFIC analysis not by the rantings of a bunch of special interest loons) and then those causing the damage being held properly accountable. Ken that also means trying to keep taxpayer money out of the equation as much as possible.
      As for “destroying the province”; have you looked at the area and potential area for damages compared to the actual enormous size of our province; and I’m not sanctioning willful destruction of our province or any part of it. What God has given us should be used responsibly for our (and God’s) benefit without destroying that which was created. But people really have to start basing their comments on reality not fantasy. Just to get it on the table – belief in God is not fantasy – thank you.
      Ken – You really have to control your paranoia; stop looking under the bed and in your bedroom closet for evil right wingers. You’ll sleep better and be more peaceful.
      Ken: Quick question coming from someone who doesn’t support any of the “spinners” (sorry, I mean lame-stream political parties and media) – can we also recall NDP’ers for the lies – sorry “misspeaks” – they perpetuate? Do we really have to remind everyone how they treated the taxpayer when they were government? Bingogate – “we are government, we can do what we want” – Fast Ferries – destruction within our resource industry – pandering to union interests and freeloaders – the air of entitlement they perpetuated for themselves and their supporters – I will even add total disdain for the taxpayer to the list – etc. etc. etc.? Some of us have been around long enough to remember their horror shows. Your worshiped leader – the ‘Great Organ’ – is just another Progressive wrapped in a supposedly different and supposedly more attractive package. Not that this bunch in power is much of an improvement.
      But you can continue to use the Progressive tactic of attacking the messenger with lies that try to undermine or (mainly) ignore the message. It’s an old, overused act of desperation from a bunch of losers (politically speaking).

      • Your Liberals are to blame in everything wrong in BC today and you talk about Taxpayers $$ how much is the debt climb in the last 3years where are you on this one? It’s all about the money! Recall coming!

    • Ken . . . you, like Trev are just way over the top . . . look around the world Ken at ALL the failing economies . . . why Ken are they always leftist and socialist regimes?

      Where on the planet Ken is there a successful socialist govt?

      • You are like a stuck record because your Government is the power the pendulum is swinging back , Recall coming soon! You took the last election by hook or by crook, but think of it like this as Christy’s team worked out of her office for two year spending taxpayer’s dollars and that is ok with you? Where on the planet Dale can you find a right wing Government that is for the people and not just the Corporations?

  5. How is it that Liberal supporters can take any type of problem that is either directly or indirectly linked to the Liberals and somehow spin some kind of defence for their beloved government?
    Some times governments screw up !
    Now the fact that this government seems to be on a roll of constantly mis-managing things and handing out corrupt breaks to their corporate friends is getting pretty old with the rest of the public.
    You defenders must be almost worn out, it is pretty much a full time job trying to put the brakes on this run away train. You guys must be exhausted.
    Bad news defenders; you have a couple more years of hard work ahead of you.
    The train is heavy and the track is steep. There is no stopping this run away train,… at least not right now.