Fw: Natives sue over caribou
----- Original Message -----
From: Doug Kelly <DKelly@...>
Sent: Sun Nov 01 09:45:27 2009
Subject: Natives sue over caribou
Natives sue over caribou
Coal mine: Work endangers herd, says First Nations band
By stuart hunter, The ProvinceNovember 1, 2009
A First Nations band in northeastern B.C. is taking the province to court to fight a proposed coal mine that it says would serve a "death sentence" to 11 endangered caribou.
The petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court by the West Moberly First Nation aims to overturn a decision by the Ministry of Energy and Mines to approve mining permits to Vancouver-based First Coal Corporation.
The 207-member band -- whose lands are located about 35 kilometers north of Chetwynd -- contends any mining work in the area would destroy habitat critical to the survival of the small herd of Burnt Pine caribou.
"This will be the end of them -- this is a death sentence," Chief Roland Willson said Friday. "These caribou are not just threatened, but in a critical situation. There are only 11 left and a couple of years ago there were over 50. Our elders told us the caribou used to be all over the place up here."
The band has been fighting to protect the caribou for years and was disappointed when the ministry issued permits in September.
First Coal president Doug Smith said he hopes sampling work on the site will continue.
"We are adhering to all requirements and will continue to do so as we continue with the bulk sample," Smith said, adding that he hopes the lines of communication will remain open in upcoming months.
Dale Seip, the ministry's top caribou expert, has said the herd is endangered and its habitat should be safeguarded to ensure recovery.
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Grand Chief Doug Kelly
Member of the Political Executive
First Nations Summit
Suite 1200 - 100 Park Royal South
West Vancouver, BC
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