WASHINGTON Aug 11 A U.S. senator from Alaska
concerned about salmon fishing and tourism urged the State
Department in a letter released on Monday to help ensure that
Canadian metal mines are safe after a major spill of waste into
waterways near the Alaska border.
Millions of gallons of gray sludge containing metals and
minerals spilled into waterways last week from Imperial Metals
Corp's Mount Polley gold and copper mine in British
Fish and other aquatic life were not expected to be overly
harmed by the breach of a dam at the mine, British Columbia's
environment ministry said, but residents were told not to drink
or bathe in the waterways and fishing was banned.
"The tailings breach ... has renewed the specter of
environmental impacts from large-scale hard rock mineral
developments in Canada that are located near transboundary
rivers," Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, said in a letter
to Secretary of State John Kerry dated Aug. 8. The letter can be
seen at ( 1.usa.gov/1sOVT8D ) .
Murkowski urged Kerry to push his Canadian counterparts to
make sure oversight on existing mines was robust and that final
reviews would be conducted on proposed projects.
The spill came at a time of weak global prices for metals,
but British Columbia has plans for at least five mines.
Murkowski has criticized federal environmental restrictions
on Pebble Mine, a large copper mine project in southwestern
Alaska near Bristol Bay, saying the state should decide the
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Matthew Lewis)