Quesnel Lake residents continue to call for justice 6 years after Mount Polley disaster

In the six years since the Mount Polley tailings pond burst through its containment dam, a small group of committed community and Indigenous activists have inspired people across Canada to take action in solidarity with them. Their goal is to call everyone to justice who made decisions that led to the disaster on August 4, 2014. 

They also want the Province of British Columbia to suspend the company’s permit to pipe mine waste-water directly into Quesnel Lake. Since April, thousands of Amnesty activists have signed our petition to the BC government calling on them to pull the discharge pipes from Quesnel Lake.  

Scientists researching the impacts of the disaster on Quesnel Lake tell us the pressure is working: the province recently re-started a water testing group to investigate troubling reports of ongoing contamination of the lake. 

But more than ever, pressure is needed to protect Quesnel Lake from further contamination. 

Mount Polley Mining Corporation recently filed an appeal of its water discharge permit and is seeking to remove most of the conditions placed on it, such as ending water discharges by 2022. It sees no reason to stop using Quesnel Lake for its mining waste.

Community groups, like the Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake, are fighting back. They are calling on the province to suspend the company’s discharge permit and comply with a requirement that it research and develop better means of treating and discharging its waste-water. We will keep you informed of ways you can support this appeal process. 

Despite calls for accountability from two United Nations bodies and thousands of people around the world, the communities will mark another anniversary of corporate impunity this August 4.

We celebrate the tenacity, courage and vision of the community activists who, six years on, continue to work tirelessly to seek justice and protect Quesnel Lake from further harm. Their work matters, and not just for their communities. When those responsible are finally held accountable for the human rights and environmental harms associated with the disaster, it will bring mining-affected communities one step closer to ending impunity for corporate human rights abuses.

It could help make communities that host mining projects safer. 

Communities are not giving up and we are not giving up. The road to justice, especially for corporate human rights abuses, is often long and it is with humility and deep respect that we undertake this work of solidarity and accompaniment. 

Take Action: Here are 3 ways you can help keep the pressure up right now:  

  1.  Write a lettersign the online action or send a tweet calling on the BC government to suspend discharges into Quesnel Lake. Your tweet will automatically be sent to Premier Horgan or Ministers Ralston and Heyman! 
  2.  Sign the petition calling on BC to reform its mining laws 
  3.  Donate to the Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake (CCQL) to help them mount their case before the BC Environmental Appeal Board to have Mount Polley pull the discharge pipes from Quesnel Lake. 
  4. Please share! 

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