Uranium Free BC and Uranium Free Kootenay Boundary
NEWS RELEASE FROM URANIUM FREE B.C. COALITION (UFBCC)
Penticton, B.C. October 04, 2007
Okanagans Support Algonquins on Uranium Blockade
Thirty delegates to the Uranium Free B.C. Coalition ( UFBCC.) met September 29th in the Penticton Indian Band Hall.
The UFBCC has called for a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in British Columbia and for all party agreement in the BC Legislature to ban uranium mining.
The Coalition gave unequivocal support from the people of the Interior of B.C. and from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Chiefs to the Algonquin people and Ardoch First Nation Chiefs Paula Sherman and Randy Cota, who are blockading the Sharbot Lake proposed uranium-mining site in the Ottawa River valley near Kingston, Ontario.
“These courageous First Nations people have been stationed at the entrance to the proposed uranium mine site since June 2007 while Frontenac Ventures Corporation is suing them for $77 million while continuing to prospect for uranium “, said Peter Chataway of Kelowna who chaired the UFBCC meeting.
“The government should be protecting the environment and the health of people from radioactive contamination by prohibiting uranium exploration and mining”, Chataway said.
“Uranium exploration and mining liberates large quantities of dangerous radioactive materials into the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, resulting in cancers and other diseases”, Chataway said.
The delegates voted to join the Canadian Peace Alliance, an organization representing more than 180 social justice and environmental groups with international connections
“We have now joined regional, national and international opposition to uranium exploration and mining “, said Laura Savinkoff, of Grand Forks, B.C.
Recently, the municipality of Summerland in the Okanagan Valley initiated an indoor radon gas-monitoring program to determine the background/baseline levels of radon, a breakdown product of uranium and the second biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking.
All levels of government must be accountable and responsible for measuring radiation before and after the projects,” said Mayor Dave Gregory of Summerland at the UFBCC meeting.
“All land disturbances in known uranium areas such as logging roads, highway expansion and residential land development may impact the environment and people’s health” Gregory added.
Former miner and now rancher, Joe Falkowski, from the Committee for a Clean Kettle Valley in Rock Creek, B.C. stated that all geologists, miners, loggers and construction crews should be issued with Geiger counters to measure radiation and be trained how to use them as part of their on-going work throughout the known uranium areas in the interior of B.C.
“The Big White ski resort seems more concerned about the aesthetics of an open-pit mine nearby than the air-borne hazards from uranium exploration and mining,” said Wayne Fipke another former miner and now a rancher in Beaverdell, B.C.
“Leaking exploration drill holes and proposed uranium mining impacts may be invisible but are deadly”, said Fipke.
In May 2007 when the UFBCC delegates met with then Minister of State for Mines, Bill Bennett, promises were made by the B.C. government to repair and monitor leaking drill holes and those are now broken promises”, concluded Fipke.
“Nuclear weapons need nuclear power plants for supplies, which need uranium mining from exploration and our purpose is to stop this devilish nuclear cycle before it starts “, said Dave Cursons an organic farmer from Cawston, B.C. and secretary of the UFBCC.
“Radioactive wastes which cannot be neutralized, radon gas which is the second largest cause of lung cancer after smoking and contaminated water and soils are all good reasons to prevent this immoral industry from starting in British Columbia”, said Cursons.
“There are literally thousands of people in BC who are now keenly aware of and actively involved in opposition to uranium exploration and mining.” concluded UFBCC Chair, Peter Chataway.
The Penticton Indian Band Hall meeting was the sixth meeting of the UFBCC since February 2006 including those in Kelowna, Rock Creek, Castlegar, Vernon and the protests in Clearwater.