Aug 13, 2020
Fording River’s Castle Mountain Coal Expansion
To Whom It May Concern:
British Columbia Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BC BHA) is the voice for wildlife and freshwater conservation on behalf of hunters and anglers in this raw and beautiful Province that we call home. We are writing in collaboration with the Montana Chapter of BHA out of concern regarding the Castle Mountain expansion project for the Fording River coal mine. We represent the opinion of more than 1,000 members in BC and some 3,000 dues-paying members in Montana, and it is the position of both the Montana and British Columbia Chapters of BHA that pause, and in-depth consideration should be given in regards to Teck Coal’s Castle Mountain expansion of their Fording River Operations in the Elk Valley.
We would like to see due diligence, increased and enhanced communication from both Government and Teck, and greater transparency in the expansion application and Environmental Assessment process. We encourage both Teck and the Government to consider what may be lacking in the assessment process proposed regarding this mining expansion. We support mindful and sustainable resource extraction, but this proposal threatens some of the last remaining high-elevation winter range for bighorn sheep and risks further contamination of local freshwaters and fish; also having cross border implications both provincially (to Alberta) and internationally (to Montana). We feel that this expansion would do well to receive treatment as though it were an entirely new mine, and not just and expansion. We have concerns in regards to the proposed mitigations and preventative measures as they are either uncertain, or, unproven, especially regarding the proposed water treatment methods.
Fish, water, habitat and wildlife connectivity, and natural, high-elevation sheep range must be preserved. These are our valued components and we would like to see a high level of consideration and decisions made in the evaluation process to ensure their protection.
We welcome any further engagement or opportunity for comment on this project, as well as the opportunity to further explain or clarify our position and values and would welcome the opportunity to be involved in mitigations.
Yours in Conservation,
Chair, British Columbia Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Chair, Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers