Natural Resources

Kootenay Bill’s Casablanca moment

Union of BC Indian Chiefs, May 2016:

The BC government is enabling a dangerous disregard for environmental monitoring, reporting and protection among mining companies by letting them off the hook for the full costs of environmental reclamation – leaving taxpayers liable for more than $1.5 billion, a new report shows…

Today the Union of BC Indian Chiefs is releasing an in-depth study by economist Robyn Allan days after a scathing report by Auditor General Carol Bellringer detailed a damning failure of the province’s environment monitoring of mines and failure to ensure companies are liable for the cost of accidents and remediation.

“As Ms. Allan’s report explains, this failure to hold companies responsible rewards risky behavior because when companies know they can escape being held financially responsible for reclamation, they are more likely to cut corners on safety measures, leading to more accidents and more severe consequences when they happen,” stated Grand Chief Phillip…

B.C. miners have $1.2B in underfunded securities, Gordon Hoekstra, May 2016:

Teck, the coal and copper mining giant, is responsible for nearly 60 per cent of the $1.2-billion in underfunding for the cleanup of mines when they close in BC…

B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett said Wednesday he was surprised – probably a “little shocked” – by the mine-by-mine breakdown which he saw for the first time this week…

The 2014 data shows the B.C. government holds financial securities of $450 million from Teck for its multiple coal mines and its large Highland Valley Copper mine against estimated reclamation costs of $1.187 billion.

That leaves an underfunded liability of $736 million…

Kootenay Bill may not have been aware that Teck is more than a dollar short in clean-up security but the BC Liberal bagmen were very much aware.

.teck donations

5 replies »

  1. BC’s Auditor General issued a report in May stating that her auditors found over a decade of neglect in compliance and enforcement program activities within the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

    Energy and Mines Minister Bennett had this to say in his defence of Hydro’s SAP software program:
    “There were judgments made that cost money. They were mistakes. I apologize to the ratepayer for mistakes that were made in the past.” -Globe and Mail May 14, 2105.

    On Site C:
    “I wouldn’t characterize my view of the Site C project as one of confidence. I’m not confident. I’m just the guy who is going to try to make sure that if the project gets approved and built, that it gets built for what they tell me it is going to get built for.” – Globe and Mail Nov 24, 2013.

    Last week Alaska asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to the Canadian government about lax mining regulation in BC.

    Now the Union of BC Indian Chiefs raises the alarm.

    It seems that from an expanding number of parties, including the shocked Minister himself, there is a substantial and growing lack of confidence in the performance of the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

    How will history regard a Premier who failed (indeed didn’t even attempt beyond empty rhetoric) to restore confidence in the ministry? This while openly advertising access to her office in exchange for campaign donations from the subjects benefitting from said neglect in compliance and enforcement.


  2. More than a “little shocking” is the fact that the Minister says he didn’t know about the lack of funds to carry out proper clean ups. His job as the regulator is to know. Being too busy trying to get BC’s next largest cleanup liability named Site C “past the point of no return” by next May’s election is no excuse. His next moment of awareness will be the underfunded liability related to clean up of natural gas wells and facilities dumped back on the taxpayer by bankrupt producers like Terra Energy. Which is already costing taxpayers money for additional attention from OGC staff. Bennett and Coleman will likely do what they can to make it easier for producers to squirm out from underneath their responsibilities rather than holding the feet to the fire so to speak. As illustrated, donations are made for a reason.


  3. Bill Bennett, the BC Liberal poster boy who, last year, got “pissed off” (his words not mine) at his own government because a handful of hunters were being treated unfairly.

    Now he’s “shocked” to learn about liabilities in the billions on all BC citizens? Liabilities that lie within his own ministry?

    Got his priorities right doesn’t he?

    Liked by 1 person

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