Winter road to uranium mining claims in Wind River
I wonder how many Yukoners know that Cash Minerals have applied to Yukon Environment and Socio-economic Assessment Board to put in a winter road from Mayo to the Wind River to facilitate their uranium exploration at mining claims in the Wind River.
This little time bomb is about to go off without any advance publicity (you can find it on the Yukon Environment and Socio-economic Assessment Board website, which I am sure you check out every day).
The public is welcome to comment on the application before 20th November 2007 (an extension may be granted for public comment since no-one, even the Yukon News seems to have covered the issue).
Personally, I flatly oppose the proposed winter road.
Not only because the entire Peel watershed is a unique and globally significant wilderness area which should be given full roadless wilderness protection status for all time, but also because the purpose of the road is to access Cash Minerals’ uranium claims in the Peel watershed.
There has been no public debate on the issue of uranium mining in the Yukon.
There are enormous environmental and health issues associated with mining uranium.
A number of jurisdictions in Canada have a moratorium on uranium mining.
I would like to see a moratorium on uranium mining in the Yukon.
If the Yukon had a moratorium on uranium mining, there would be no exploration for uranium and the proposed winter road application in question would be obsolete.
At a minimum, there must be a territory-wide, informed debate on whether Yukoners want uranium mining in the Yukon.
This debate should draw on the experience of jurisdictions where uranium mining has been carried out, the environmental and health consequences documented, the highly toxic legacy those communities are forced to accept, significantly increased cancer rates etc.
To pretend that approval of a road accessing uranium mining claims is a separate consideration from the environmental and health issues around uranium mining is not only dishonest it is immoral.
The Cash Minerals winter road proposal has been submitted to Yukon Environment and Socio-economic Assessment Board and I understand that the board’s Mayo regional office has been given the responsibility of assessing the outcome.
Because of the implications of the Cash Minerals winter road application to the Yukon environment and to the health of Yukoners and Yukon wildlife, this application should be subject to the highest level of enquiry and public debate.
I wish to see this debate taken up by Yukon politicians and public alike.