Victoria B.C. - "The Mount Polley tailings pond breach shattered public confidence in government and industry's ability to adequately protect the natural environment during mining operations, and for a good reason," said Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head, regarding the private prosecution filed by MiningWatch Canada against the B.C. government and the Mount Polley Mining Corporation for violations of the federal Fisheries Act in connection with the 2014 tailings pond breach.
"B.C. had the largest mine waste disaster in Canadian history and yet no charges have been laid. This process cannot be taken lightly by government.The legacy of this incident has tarnished the international reputation of British Columbia's important mining industry.
"Shortly after the tailings pond breach occurred in August 2014, I visited the Mount Polley mine site and was able to witness the local environmental devastation first hand. It was a sight to behold.
"I have recently spoken to residents who live on Quesnel Lake and know, two years later, that water quality is still a pressing issue. Every winter the lake overturns as the surface waters cool and the residual tailings waste rises to the surface.
"British Columbians deserve a government that will ensure their interests and the environment are protected.
"The B.C. Liberals have upset the balance between protecting the environment and protecting industry. I am grateful there are groups like MiningWatch Canada working to advance a safer equilibrium."