Today’s Poll

BC Environment Minister issues order to Teck Coal Limited

By Contributor
April 17th, 2013

Environment Minister Terry Lake issued a ministerial order today to Teck Coal Limited, requiring the company to submit a plan to address the high levels of selenium and other contaminants in the Elk Valley watershed as a result of decades of coal mining activity.

This order covers the Elk Valley watershed, including Fording River and Lake Koocanusa, and establishes a process for Teck to take immediate steps to stabilize and reverse water quality concentrations for selenium, cadmium, nitrate and sulphate.

The order will result in a plan to identify long-term concentration targets including:

  • Current contaminant concentrations.
  • Current and emerging economically achievable treatment technologies.
  • Sustained balance of environmental, economic and social costs and benefits.
  • Current and emerging science regarding the fate and effects of contaminants.

The order defines specific environmental objectives and outcomes such as protection of aquatic ecosystems, protection of human health and protection of groundwater. Teck will develop the plan in collaboration with stakeholders, First Nations and various levels of government.

Under Section 89 of the Environmental Management Act, Teck is responsible for preparing and submitting terms of reference for approval to the Minister of Environment within 90 days.

Teck must then complete the plan and submit it for the minister’s approval within 12 months of the terms of reference being approved.

A technical advisory committee to guide development of the plan is also established by the order.

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