Here is Samson Hartland, interviewed in Ronson’s July 14 article “Peel a ‘no-go zone:’ miners”:
“The Yukon government estimates that $50 million has been spent exploring in the Peel in the last decade, he said.
‘It sort of magnifies and confirms that mining and the environment can co-exist, because this is a region that has had this amount of dollars spent in it, and it’s still viewed as pristine.’”
Either Hartland is willfully obtuse,or he just doesn’t get it. Or maybe both. The generally pristine appearance of the Peel is despite $50 million of mining exploration expenditures.
Through the federal Arctic Environmental Strategy, the taxpayer paid millions to clean up the mess left by mining exploration in the Peel. Trashed and abandoned camps, oil barrel dumps, industrial debris, derelict aircraft.
Not to mention needless air strips, and the unreclaimed four-by-four trails, trenching and drill pad scars on many claims.
The pristine appearance of much of the Peel country is because the mining industry never moved past the exploration phase to the development phase. Think access roads, mines, semi-permanent camps, infrastructure.
Can mining and the “environment” co-exist? Maybe, if new roads were closed to hunting and all sites had state-of-the-art mitigation and restoration measures. (Not that industry has ever done much of this.)
Can mining and “wilderness” co-exist? No. They are mutually exclusive if mining really requires roads, as Samson maintains.
Shame on Pasloski and cabinet for misleadingly applying the label “wilderness” to industrial multiple-use zones in their so-called “plan” for the Peel.