Re: Feds launch review about project approval process written by Shannon Lough, The Northern View, Dec. 18, 2016
I read with interest the article ‘Feds launch review about project approval process’ and wanted to correct a couple of inaccurate statements provided by Jill Weitz, manager of Salmon Beyond Borders (SBB), an Alaskan-based environmental organization.
In the article, Ms. Weitz is quoted saying on projects which have transboundary implications the environmental assessments need to be completed by the federal government and not the B.C. provincial government and secondly Ms. Weitz suggests currently Alaskan’s “have no direct stake or seat at the table.”
As a representative of one of the Transboundary mine projects I wish to clarify for the record that mining projects in British Columbia are environmentally assessed by both the federal and provincial governments.
In the example of Seabridge Gold’s KSM project, it underwent a joint harmonized environmental assessment process administrated under the British Colombia Environmental Assessment Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (1992) which occurred between March 2008 and December 2014, and concluded with receipt of environmental approvals from both the federal and provincial government respectively.
During this review, Alaskans, including state and U.S. regulators, tribes, and citizens were communicated with in more than 85 separate interactions and as a result of these meetings Alaskan’s views were taken into consideration during the environmental assessment approval process.
An indication of the input received from Alaskans during the environmental assessment review was highlighted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in their scientific report which the Canadian minister of the environment relied upon to make her decision, which stated, “the agency has concluded that no significant adverse impacts on water quality, water quantity, fish, or human health are expected on the Alaskan side of the Unuk River.”
Moving forward and two years after the conclusion of the environmental assessment process, Seabridge continues to ensure that Alaskans are kept informed of developments associated with KSM, through regular updates to our community website, our willingness to provide community updates as was evidenced by participation in the Prince of Wales Mining Symposium held in Craig, Alaska in May 2016, and our ongoing interaction with the State of Alaska regulators.
Additionally, the project, when it is constructed and operational, will be subject to extensive regulations administrated by both the provincial and federal governments respectively, including the B.C. Ministries of Mines and the Environment, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, Federal Environment and Climate Change Canada, Transport Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
For Seabridge Gold, protection of the environment, in both Canada and in the U.S., is a guiding principle behind the design of the KSM Project.
R. Brent Murphy, M.Sc., P.Geol
Vice President, Environmental Affairs