Kamloops, The Kamloops Area Preservation Association, February 5, 2014 – The undersigned demand the resignation of the BC Minister of Mines, Bill Bennett who recently went to Ottawa in an attempt to persuade the Federal Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, to ignore the recommendations of the Review Panel to decline the application for Taseko’s Prosperity Mine near Williams Lake, BC. This is the second time that the minister has been to Ottawa in order to persuade the federal government to overturn the findings and recommendations of the environmental assessment process for the proposed Prosperity Mine.
While being interviewed on BNN on January 14, 2014, Minister Bennett admitted that the Liberal Party of BC received $100,000 in donations from Taseko Mines and CEO Russell Hallbauer and that he received $5000 for his May 2013 election campaign. His attempts to persuade the federal government to rule in favour in favour of Taseko Mines can, therefore, only be interpreted as the actions of a paid lobbyist. This view is confirmed by his comments “I’m going to seek to influence the decision, of course”. We are also concerned about Minister Bennett’s comments that “he wasn’t surprised by the panel’s findings, as mines cannot be built without causing significant environmental issues.”
Minister Bennett will be one of three Ministers that will be required to approve – or decline – the KGHM application for the Ajax copper and gold mine that would be partially located within the boundaries of Kamloops BC, a community of over 87,000. The undersigned are deeply concerned that Minister Bennett will attempt to persuade both the federal and provincial ministers of the environment to approve the KGHM Ajax application, and to ignore the findings of the environmental assessment process should the application be rejected. The concerned volunteers listed below, and many others have dedicated countless hours to ensure the highest level of protection for our local environment and the health of our 87,000 residents.
We demand Minister Bennett’s resignation at once to ensure that the current environmental assessment of the KGHM Ajax Mine proposal, and the efforts of the volunteers to protect the environment in our community and the health of our residents are not undermined. His blatant attempts to persuade the federal government to ignore the findings and recommendations of the Taseko Mine environmental assessment Review Panel makes a mockery of the environmental review process in this province.