Mallott and Sullivan Continue to Press Canadian Government on Transboundary Mining

WASHINGTON, DC – Following a trip to Ottawa, Canada earlier this year, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan and Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott have followed up with senior officials in the Canadian government to continue to raise the issue of transboundary mining impacting Southeast Alaska.

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna and Minister of International Trade James Carr, Sen. Sullivan and Lt. Governor Mallott thanked the Canadians for their attention to transboundary mining issues . But they also stressed several key areas of concern that require continued attention.

“While Alaska, British Columbia, the Department of State, and Global Affairs Canada have been working well together on a path forward, including conducting water quality surveys and exploring monitoring options, there is much progress that still needs to be made to address mutual concerns,” wrote Sen. Sullivan and Lt. Gov. Mallott.  “To continue this dialogue we would like to take this opportunity to raise several of the issues that our governments need to address going forward:

  1. All diligence needs to be taken to reclaim the Tulsequah Chief Mine site. While British Columbia continues to march through the process of cleaning up the site, we hope that you can continue to lend your aid in coordinating and facilitating B.C.’s efforts.
  2. Both U.S. and Canadian governments need to continue to develop and agree upon a definition of a scientific protocol for 3-5 years of independent studies focused on the baseline/reference conditions of water quality and fish/wildlife populations in transboundary watersheds.
  3. We continue to urge your support in establishing and funding a joint water quality monitoring program for the transboundary rivers. In 2017, the U.S. Congress appropriated funding for transboundary river stream gages and directed the Bureau of Indian Affairs and United States Geological Survey to enter into a formal partnership with local tribes to develop a water quality strategy for transboundary rivers. This is vitally important not just to understand the impacts of existing operations, but to have baselines to assess future projects and protect Alaskans downstream. We urge you undertake similar efforts.
  4. We request the Canadian federal government consider conducting a review of the existing legacy, proposed, permitted, and operating mines in U.S.-B.C. transboundary watersheds under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
  5. We urge you, through Global Affair Canada, to seriously consider the analysis developed by the United States to identify gaps in our different regulatory structures and continue our partnership to address these issues as we look toward the next meeting of the Department of State and Global Affairs Canada.”

The full letter to Ministers McKenna and Carr can be found here.