Mount Polley Investigation Update
Prince George, B.C. – The B.C. Conservation Officer Service provided an update into the investigation of the Mount Polley tailings pond breach that occurred on Aug. 4, 2014 today.
“The investigation is continuing. The BC Conservation Officer Service, Fisheries and Oceans and Environmental and Climate Change Canada are conducting the investigation into the tailings bond breach at the Mount Polley site,” said COS deputy chief Chris Doyle.
“To date, evidence has been collected under the Provincial Environmental Management Act and the Federal Fisheries Act. All of the information gathered during the course of the investigation will be considered by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, should charges be recommended.”
Under B.C. law however, he confirmed the three-year statute of limitation deadline is this Friday. He couldn’t say whether charges would be laid by then. Doyle said the deadline to lay charges under the Federal Fisheries Act is five years.
He added the timeline for the investigation is “similar to other significant environmental investigations.”
“In general, the length of an investigation is dependent on the complexity of the occurrence and the amount of information that needs to be gathered and considered. And just a note: the federal and provincial governments take environmental protection seriously.”
B.C.’s Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman backed up Doyle’s assertion in a statement this afternoon calling the breach at Mount Polley “one of the worst environmental disasters in our province’s history” adding it had “tremendous consequences for the local economy and economy.
He also said he had “full confidence” in the investigation adding “I know that many concerned British Columbians join me in looking forward to the outcome of this important investigation.”