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Action Alert: No Means No! Put an End to the Prosperity Mine Proposal

On World Water Day, March 22, allies and supporters of the Tsilhqot’in National Government would like you to take action to protect Teztan Biny-Fish Lake. Let the federal and provincial governments know that you still stand with the Tsilhqot’in communities in opposition to the proposed Prosperity Mine by Taseko Mines Ltd. In her first meeting as premier with Prime Minister Harper, Christy Clark urged Harper to approve the project. Tell them this project must be permanently stopped. Tell them that Taseko Mines must be told to stop trying to impose this flawed project on Tsilhqot’in communities and the fragile ecosystems they rely on.

Sample letter is included below.

Background and March 2011 Update

This action alert is being endorsed by the Council of Canadians, Friends of the Nemaiah Valley, Mining Watch Canada, & RAVEN Trust.

EMAIL, CALL, WRITE, or VISIT TODAY!

On World Water Day, we would like to flood the BC and Canadian governments with messages of opposition. Please send a message on Tuesday to the elected officials listed below.  In addition to sending an email please also consider calling, or visiting their offices, if possible.

Prime Minister and Key Ministers:

Stephen Harper (Prime Minister) - Harper.S@parl.gc.ca / 613-992-4211 / 403-253-7990
Peter Ken (Minister of the Environment) - Kent.P@parl.gc.ca / 613-992-0253 / 905-886-9911
John Duncan (Minister of Indian Affairs) - Duncan.J@parl.gc.ca / 613-992-2503 / 250-338-9381
Gail Shea (Minister of Fisheries & Oceans) - Shea.G@parl.gc.ca / 613-992-9223 / 902-882-4493
Christian Paradis (Minister of Natural Resources) - Paradis.C@parl.gc.ca / 613-995-1377 / 418-338-2903
Tony Clement (Minister of Industry) - Clement.T@parl.gc.ca / 613-992-5092 / 705-746-9053

Opposition Party Leaders:

Michael Ignatieff - Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca / 613-995-9364 / 416-251-5510
Gilles Duceppe - Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca / 613-992-6779 / 514-522-1339
Jack Layton - Layton.J@parl.gc.ca / 613-995-7224 / 416-405-8914

Premier and Key Ministers in BC:

Christy Clark (BC Premier) - premier@gov.bc.ca / 250 387 1715 / 604 775 1600
Terry Lake (Minister of Environment) - terry.lake.mla@leg.bc.ca / 250 356-3078 / 250 554-5413
Mary Polak (Minister of Aboriginal Relations) - mary.polak.mla@leg.bc.ca / 250 387-9699 / 604 514-8206
Rich Coleman (Minister of Energy & Mines) - rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca / 250 356-7717 / 604 882-3151

Opposition Critics in BC:

Doug Donaldson (Critic for Energy & Mines) - doug.donaldson.mla@leg.bc.ca / 250 387-3655 / 250 847-8841
Rob Fleming (Critic for Environment) - rob.fleming.mla@leg.bc.ca / 250 387-3655 / 250 360-2023
Michael Sather (Deputy Critic for Environment) - scott.fraser.mla@leg.bc.ca / 250 387-3655 / 250 720-4515
Scott Fraser (Critic for Aboriginal Relations) - michael.sather.mla@leg.bc.ca / 250 387-3655 / 604 476-9823

SEND AN EMAIL TO THEM ALL! Simply copy and paste the address list below:

Harper.S@parl.gc.ca; Kent.P@parl.gc.ca; Duncan.J@parl.gc.ca; Shea.G@parl.gc.ca; Paradis.C@parl.gc.ca; Clement.T@parl.gc.ca; Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca; Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca; Layton.J@parl.gc.ca; premier@gov.bc.ca; terry.lake.mla@leg.bc.ca; mary.polak.mla@leg.bc.ca; rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca; doug.donaldson.mla@leg.bc.ca; rob.fleming.mla@leg.bc.ca; scott.fraser.mla@leg.bc.ca; michael.sather.mla@leg.bc.ca;

SAMPLE LETTER:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you today, on World Water Day, to express my deep concern with the resubmission of a proposal by Taseko Mines Ltd. for the proposed Prosperity Mine on Tsilhqot’in territories in the interior of BC.

Because this mine, as planned, would be subsidized by public funds, would have an overwhelming amount of environmental damage associated with the original application (Taseko's “best environmental option”), has unresolved impacts on Little Fish Lake and the rest of the watershed, and because the Tsilhqot'in communities still are not providing consent for the project to proceed, there is no reason for the federal government to even consider looking at this project again.

The area where the mine is proposed is truly an ecological wonder, providing habitat for  an endangered population of grizzly bears, wild horses, and much more. Teztan Biny supports a genetically unique species of rainbow trout, a population that is self-sustained within the lake and creeks upstream.

Taseko now claims that the mine can be developed without destroying Teztan Biny, but Little Fish Lake and Fish Creek would still be filled in with tailings. In their submissions to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency last year, Taseko asserted that, of all the available options, the plan that destroyed Teztan Biny would cause the least environmental damage.  Though we do not know what alternative proposal Taseko Mines has submitted, they acknowledged options that would “preserve” the lake in the short term would use “other potentially acid-generating waste rock management methods that had not been proven at the appropriate scale.”  We also know that much of the copper and gold Taseko would like to access lies under the lake. In their submissions to the CEAA panel, the company said, “From a mine planning perspective, in order to meet the objective of maximizing the full potential of the mineral resource at Prosperity, mine planners and decision-makers need to contemplate and prepare for the development of a pit that infringes on Fish Lake.” The company went further to suggest that alternative development options would only preserve Teztan Biny in the short term.

The federal review panel found that other alternatives that avoided direct destruction of Fish lake would still not protect its ecological and cultural values. The communities of the Tsilhqot'in Nation continue to clearly and collectively say “No” to a project that would destroy a sacred site of great cultural and historic significance. The Tsilhqot'in communities have not given consent to the Prosperity Mine project that would be in an area of proven aboriginal rights as determined in the Supreme Court of BC.

Furthermore, Dr. Marvin Shaffer has estimated that the provincial government would be subsidizing the project with $20 million per year for the life of the project. Tax revenues from the mine are unlikely to be more than $7.5 million.

We demand that you respect aboriginal title and rights and this pristine ecosystem by leaving the area surrounding Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) alone. The mine proposal needs to be permanently stopped and the Tsilhqot'in must be allowed to preserve Teztan Biny and the Taseko watershed for future generations.

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