LETTERS: Environmental misdirection

Editor:

Re: What we know about the mine spill, Aug. 19 column.

Editor:

Re: What we know about the mine spill, Aug. 19 column.

Since the horrific dam collapse at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley open-pit gold and copper mine, releasing 24 million cubic meters of tailings water and heavy-metal-laden sludge and silt into Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake, Quesnel Lake and, subsequently, the Cariboo, Quesnel and Fraser rivers, I was waiting, albeit with apprehension, to read columnist Tom Fletcher’s take on the largest tailing spill in Canadian history.

True to form, he delivered.

Flelcher’s column was as contaminated as Hazeltine Creek now is. You can bank on Fletcher to include a vitriolic attack on anything perceived as pro- environment, even after such an awful environmental disaster.

Who are these professional environmentalists Fletcher is so keen to discredit? Is anyone who is disgusted, scared or concerned about this disaster one of these so-called professional environmentalists?

Is anyone who questions what the heck is going on – when, on a calm, summer day, a massive 50-metre-tall dam wall holding back billions of litres of polluted, vitiated mining sludge suddenly collapses – a professional environmentalist?

Why are you not slamming the majority shareholder of Imperial Metals. He lobbies the BC Liberal government for faster environmental-review processes for his mines and donates thousands to the BC Liberal government. Why is he not to be held responsible?

How does Bill Bennett, minister of energy and mines, escape attention? Are he and his ministry not responsible for safe-guarding British Columbians and the environment from exactly this type of catastrophe?

Instead, you redirect attention to some phantom environmentalists, while ignoring the main players.

Your laughable, little opinion piece concludes with this absurd bit of quality reporting: ”a single rainbow trout collected the day of the spill is the only confirmed aquatic casualty.”

Are you kidding me? One fish? How gullible do you think your readers are? What about the untold number of invertebrates, microbes, frogs, salamanders, birds, mammals, and flora buried beneath the avalanche of polluted sludge?

What about the Quesnel Lake ecosystem as a whole? You also conveniently glossed over the million or so returning sockeye salmon heading up river towards this ecological disaster to spawn.

Quesnel Lake was considered one of the cleanest lakes in the world, according to Premier Christy Clark. What was that designation worth, or I am just being emotional?

What about human health? Long-term health risks from exposure to heavy metals? What about the accumulation of copper, mercury, magnesium, selenium and arsenic in fish and aquatic species over the long term? What about those people who live around the contaminated site, whose livelihoods are in jeopardy?

First Nations who depend on dwindling numbers of returning salmon for survival? The long-term cost to taxpayers to clean up this mess, if it can even be cleaned up? Why this disaster was allowed to happen in the first place?

The list goes on and on.

One fish, eh? To think that your article is shaping opinions on matters of the environment makes me shudder, but you may be underestimating your readership.

I believe many of my fellow British Columbians are wise to your obvious bias, so please don’t include them or me in the “What we know about the mine spill” title of BC Views, because “we” know better.

Stephan Kropf, White Rock