The federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Robert Thibault, has announced that the Yukon Placer Authorization will be phased out over the next four years.
There have been serious, long-standing concerns about the impacts of placer mining on freshwater fish and salmon in the Yukon. The Yukon Placer Authorization is a blanket authorization under Section 35 of the Fisheries Act which allows "habitat alteration, disruption or destruction" for the purpose of placer mining.
The Yukon Conservation Society (YCS) was involved with the Yukon Placer Committee for almost 10 years, mostly on a volunteer basis. The Yukon Placer Authorization did not protect Yukon fish and was a cumbersome process for placer miners. These fish are important to First Nations, Yukoners and their neighbours on the transboundary watershed.
Placer mining will now be regulated the same as any other activity in Canada that alters or destroys fish habitat (including hard rock mining, logging or building a dock) — by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Fisheries Act. This forward-thinking, progressive, and legal decision is one that the Yukon Conservation Society has worked towards since they began as an organization.
The Yukon Party and Yukon's Liberal Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell have responded in a negative way to this decision.
Please take the time to congratulate Minister Thibault for his decision, and express your dismay to Larry Bagnell:
The Honourable Robert G. Thibault
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings, Wellington Street
cc. Gord Zealand, Yukon Area Director, Fax 393-6738
Larry Bagnell, MP
House of Commons