Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mount Polley probe looking into government's disclosures

A second investigation has been launched into the question of whether or not the B.C. government has improperly withheld information about the catastrophic collapse of the Mount Polley tailings pond.

In a letter to the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria, Michael McEvoy, the acting Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C., has confirmed his office has opened a file into a complaint by the ELC about the government’s refusal to release routine mine inspection reports concerning Mount Polley.
Since the Aug. 4 accident, which discharged nearly 15 million cubic metres of toxic mine waste into the Fraser River watershed, the government has refused to release documents related to the mine, including the annual dam safety inspection reports from 2010 to 2013.

The government said documents couldn’t be released because an investigation is under way. That prompted the ELC to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner that the release of documents “relevant to the greatest mining environmental disaster in B.C. history is a matter of clear and pressing public interest.”
The Vancouver Sun reported that Alberta billionaire N. Murray Edwards helped organize a $1 million fundraiser for the B.C. Liberal party at the Calgary Petroleum Club last year. Rapidly becoming a household name in B.C., Edwards is the controlling shareholder of Imperial Metals, which operates the Mount Polley Mine.

Edwards, Canada’s 18th richest person with a net worth of about $2.2 billion according to Forbes, is linked to six corporations that have donated a total of $436,227 in campaign contributions to the B.C. Liberal party over the past nine years, according to Elections B.C.