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LETTER: Gov't to blame for Mount Polley disaster

Dear Editor,

I read with horror the article Mount Polley Disaster published in the The Boundary Sentinel on August 6, 2014.

I have been following the news on the Fraser River Imperial Mines tailing pond contamination. I see that the government treated this toxic tailings pond with the same the extreme carelessness I have observed for the last 30 years while protecting wild salmon from disease.

The government ignored warnings from an ex-employee of Imperial Mines that there was five times too much water in the tailings pond than intended and the dam was at risk of failure. This means the failure was no accident – it was the result of government negligence.

This attitude from the government is not new. For years, scientists in BC Ministry of Environment, such as Dr. Dave Narver, has warned the federal and provincial governments that diseases from salmon farms were a serious threat to wild salmon. Now the diseases are here and the government is ignoring them.

Similarly, on Thursday, the government told the public their water was safe, but scientists reported that the samples were taken too far from the impacted areas. I encourage the people of BC to make sure samples of the tailings pond are independently tested. If I had not tested wild salmon for European salmon viruses, we would not know they are here.  First Nation leaders have closed salmon fisheries in the region of the mining spill to protect the health of the people.  This is extremely serious.

We have to stand together, do the work and bring government back to us.

Alexandra Morton

EDITOR's note: The related article was originally published in the Rossland Telegraph and shared with the Boundary Sentinel.