An international group of 22 science and policy experts have published a joint commentary in the prestigious journal Science, urging United States (U.S.) and Canadian leadership to immediately address damages and risks caused by Canadian mine pollution flowing downstream into U.S. states. At a workshop led by University of Montana and Alaska researchers, the group, which included representatives from U.S. Tribes and British Columbia (B.C.) First Nations, concluded that the threats and impacts of Canadian mines on shared rivers, fisheries, and communities is not adequately assessed by the B.C. government. The letter also calls on the U.S. and Canadian federal governments to invoke the U.S.-Canada Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and address the fact that B.C. mine assessments are neither adequately based on defensible science nor adequately protect U.S.-B.C. transboundary waters from mining pollution.

“This letter highlights the inadequacies of British Columbia’s evaluation and permitting process for massive toxic waste dumps in major salmon-producing transboundary rivers, like the Taku, Stikine-Iskut, and Unuk-Nass river systems,” said Jill Weitz, director of Salmon Beyond Borders and one of the policy experts who co-authored the publication. “B.C.'s mine assessment process leaves Alaskans unprotected because it underestimates the risk of mine failures and contamination, and doesn’t rely on independent science.”

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