Teck has proposed a massive 25-square-kilometre expansion of their Fording River coal mine in the upper Elk Valley. The provincial Environmental Assessment for this mountain-top removal coal mine, which would operate for decades, has begun. This is your chance to speak up.

If approved, the Castle Mountain mine would destroy critical habitat for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, add significantly more selenium and other dangerous water pollution to the Elk Valley watershed, and lock in decades of high carbon emissions.

Bighorn rams on winter grasslands in the Elk Valley.

Bighorn sheep on the Rocky Mountain side of the Elk Valley have already lost more than a quarter of their high-elevation grassland habitat to coal mining. This critical winter range is listed as endangered in British Columbia and bighorn sheep can’t afford to lose any more, but Castle would unavoidably destroy a lot of habitat. Read more about bighorn sheep and Castle Mountain.

The proposed mine would leach selenium pollution into the upper Fording River for thousands of years, adding to already dangerous levels of pollution. Over the last two years, the population of cutthroat trout in the upper Fording River collapsed, with a 90% loss of adult fish and more than 70% of juvenile fish gone. Those fish, and the fish downstream in the Elk River and Lake Koocanusa, can’t take any more selenium or other water pollution—and Teck still has no long-term plan to stop pollution flowing after they stop mining. Read more about the mine expansion, clean water and fish.

Westslope cutthroat trout. Photo: Michael J Ready, ILCP.

Stand up for bighorn sheep, trout and clean water today. Tell BC’s Environmental Assessment Office that enough is enough: we can’t afford another massive coal mine expansion in the Elk Valley.
Just click here and then click “Submit Comment”.

Key points to consider (but please write your own comment):
– The proposal would add selenium and other water pollution to the already heavily polluted upper Fording River, where trout populations have recently collapsed, and to the Elk River and Lake Koocanusa.

– Teck has no viable long-term plan to address selenium pollution over thousands of years in the Elk Valley, only short-term water treatment plans.

– The proposal would destroy more than three square kilometres of rare red-listed high-elevation grasslands, which is critical winter habitat for bighorn sheep.

– The project would continue coal mining in the Elk Valley for many decades, releasing more than 20 million tonnes of carbon over the life of the mine and more than 20 million tonnes every year when the coal is burned, equal to a third of BC’s current annual emissions, even though we desperately need to reduce carbon emissions.

Want to do more? The EAO will be hosting two online open houses on May 14 and 19. Join in and speak your mind!

The location of the proposed Castle Mountain coal mine.

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