Monday, November 30, 2009

Unspoiled Taku River Valley discussions on land use

Not much news about this process - at least, I know little about it. So, I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a little more exposure. This may not be the best explanation but feel free to add, in the Comments section, links to an article you would recommend.

Gold glitters in B.C.'s last intact watershed
By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News
Published: November 29, 2009 1:00 PM

Negotiations are under way to set land use rules for B.C.’s last pristine coastal watershed, the remote Taku River valley near the Alaska and Yukon borders.
In talks similar to those that established the so-called Great Bear Rainforest agreement on B.C.'s central and northern coast three years ago, the Taku River Tlingit First Nation is moving beyond court challenges over mining to a plan that would share the resources and tourism potential of their vast traditional territory.
Photo of Taku River Valley

UPDATE Dec. 28, 2012:
Yukon's free entry mineral staking rules in jeopardy
Court of Appeal says mining claims can have serious impacts on aboriginal title

UPDATE - NEWS RELEASE from Taku River Klingit First Nation
Taku River Tlingit Joint Clan Forum Rejects Proposed Tulsequah Chief Project
November 28, 2012:  The Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN), faced with significant concerns about the state of Chieftain Metals’ proposal and negotiations, held a Joint Clan meeting on November 18, 2012 where the Joint Clan Forum rejected the proposed Tulsequah Chief Project.
The Joint Clan Mandate instructs TRTFN Leadership to "take all steps necessary to ensure that the Tulsequah Chief project, as currently proposed, is not developed on Taku River Tlingit Territory.”

The consensus decision was made based on numerous shortcomings, including Chieftain’s failure to maintain a water treatment plant to manage pollution from the original mine site, and its failure to provide a workable feasibility study.
Frustration at the Joint Clan meeting was high while citizens questioned how they could possibly consider approving the proposed project in the face of so little certainty on the requirements of responsible development on Taku River Tlingit Territory.

The Joint Clan Forum has no confidence, based on the steps taken to date, that the mine could be built or operated in an acceptable manner, and believes there is a serious risk of the project collapsing part way though, leaving an even more damaging legacy for TRTFN lands and waters than is already being perpetuated by the original abandoned mine.

Other concerns include the manner in which Chieftain’s proposed project has been approved by the BC government without the full and informed participation of the TRTFN, and in the absence of full plans on which to base their decisions.

As a responsible government, and as land owners, the TRTFN must ensure its time and resources are directed to financially viable and environmentally responsible projects.  The currently proposed Tulsequah Chief Project does not meet these minimum requirements.  

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Birds From a Cariboo Deck No. 9: Ruffed Grouse

This was the grandest-looking of a family of four that visited in the fall; so, probably the adult male. They are not the most refined of flyers, especially when startled: flying into fences and walls. Fortunately I saw this one in time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Introduction to the Chilcotin War - Tom Swanky

Tom has been researching and collecting historical date long and hard. Here's an opportunity to learn about this remarkable and often disturbing part of our history in this part of Canada. Click on poster to see a larger version. In case the text still isn't easy to read, here's what Tom says:
I am presenting the slide sequence in the Quesnel Museum Heritage Speaker series, Oct. 27 at 7pm in the Atrium at the UNBC campus in Quesnel. [Admission free]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The trouble with DEET

New research on DEET health risks

DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellents used by some 200 million people every year, appears to affect proteins in mammals as well as mosquitoes and other target insects. Some previous studies have implicated DEET in seizures among children. A new study (PDF) by an international group of scientists, supported by Agence Nationale pour la Recherche in France, published August 5 at (BMCBiology), reports that DEET "is not simply a behaviour-modifying chemical but that it also inhibits cholinesterase activity, in both insect and mammalian neuronal preparations." Symptoms of lowered levels of cholinesterase, an enzyme essential to proper nervous system function, can include nausea, headaches, convulsions and, in extreme cases, death. Health risks increase when DEET and other pesticides are used together. The researchers concluded that "DEET is commonly used in combination with insecticides and we show that deet has the capacity to strengthen the toxicity of carbamates, a class of insecticides known to block acetylcholinesterase." The new findings are "consistent with previous studies, says Bahie Abou-Donia of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC," speaking to Science News. Abou-Donia's research found increased toxicity when DEET and chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide hazardous by itself, were used together. "These effects should be clearly labeled on products containing DEET, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide," says Abou-Donia. In Canada, he noted, "insect repellents can contain no more than 30 percent DEET. The United States - where 100 percent DEET repellents are available - should consider such restrictions."

- Pesticide Action Network of North America

  • Mosquito Repellants and Deterrents
  • Some Insects of British Columbia
  • Monday, August 03, 2009

    Nuk Tessli Update

    Just received from Chris Czajkowski:

    August 3, 8:55 a.m.

    "When the helicopter flew over Knot Lake yesterday the fire was still on the far side of Knot Lake which is very good news. There was little wind yesterday and none last night. Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to cool dramatically, which will help, and a chance of showers is forecast. It is supposed to rain in a few days. "

    Chris drew this map at the time of the 2004 fire.

    Sunday, August 02, 2009

    Fire threatens Nuk Tessli. Chris Czajkowski has to fly out.

    Five years later and once again, Chris Czajkowski has had to evacuate Nuk Tessli. In an e-mail sent a couple of hours ago, she reports:

    "Even if the fire did not reach us, the smoke would probably be very unpleasant. Been there, done that. 11 clients and a wwoofer/guide had flown out that morning and 4 clients had flown in. These were a couple my age, their 80+ mother, and their 9-year-old grand-daughter. The fire would likely stay away for a couple of days but the smoke would be distressing: at least now the visibility was good enough to fly out."

    Tuesday, July 07, 2009

    The Battle for Our Rivers and Our Fish

    Despite their victory in the last provincial election, the way is not open for the BC Liberals to continue their ceding of river access to corporate power-sellers. The tactical attempts to sneak through the legal requirements are being countered by an alert and growing resistance. The Tyee reports:
    Far from being deterred by the denial of a meeting in Nelson, local environmental groups banded together to provide bus transportation and other means for getting people to the Kaslo meeting. The result was staggering.

    People of all ages came with costumes, banners, marching bands, meticulously researched and passionately articulated speeches. First they rallied outside the school before the meeting, then they lined up one after another at the microphone to say a resounding "no" to the project and the whole idea of privatizing our rivers for power we don't need and can't use. Why can't we use it? Because the bulk of this power would come in spring, the time of our lowest demand and highest supply) vowing that this project would be stopped.

    As local NDP MLA Michelle Mungall told the company to rousing applause, "These people are not uneducated about your project. They understand it. They don't like it. They don't want it."

    After a disappointing provincial election for those who care about protecting our rivers, fish and wildlife, this night served to re-energize the movement around the province and showed this battle is really just getting started. And the people of the Kootenays, famous for their love of nature and commitment to protecting it, are once again leading by example.

    More from The Tyee
    Facebook: Help Save Wild Rivers in the Kootenays

    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    BC Election: Rafe Mair's call to action

    Today I'm making online space for Rafe Mair. I couldn't find this most recent letter of his online so, to give it a little more exposure, here it is. There comes a time when politics is more than just that and I think, for BC, this is one of them:
    Fellow British Columbians –

    I’ve been fighting injustice my entire life. I have long looked with considerable skepticism at those in charge feeling strongly that they must have the closest possible scrutiny.

    I’ve been in government and know how the spin is administered to issues so that evils in government policies are disguised. I’ve long been guided by what I call Mair’s Axiom I, namely, “one makes a serious mistake in assuming that people in charge know what the hell they’re doing”.

    During my time practicing law I took many cases “pro bono” because I sensed an injustice.

    As Consumer Minister I battled hard for consumers passing 33 pieces of legislation in two sittings, a record before or since. In the Ministry of Environment I stopped government killing wolves, stopped exploration for and mining of uranium and negotiated the saving of the Skagit River from being made into a lake by City of Seattle raising the Ross Dam.

    In radio I fought against two disastrous constitutional exercises, Meech Lake and Charlottetown, the Kemano Completion Project, a gravel pit on the Pitt River, the fish farm issue and recently the private river swindle.

    I’m now in my 78th year and though I’m pretty fit, the time comes when you have to consider that your place in the front line trenches should be taken by younger people. I’ve greatly enjoyed speaking all around the province and meeting so many of you on the “rivers” issue but being away from home on the road for many days at a time takes a toll. While I have no intention to stop speaking out and writing on environmental concerns perhaps it’s time I started supporting causes but not being its torch bearer.

    In short, I have to face reality.

    The “rivers” issue I’m now fighting is one of the most important I’ve ever been involved in and in this fight I include the government’s appalling record on the fish farm issue. What’s at stake here is the essence, or you might say the very soul, of British Columbia. The return of Gordon Campbell will mean the sale, for money we’ll never even see, the British Columbia we love so dearly. Indeed the money will be paid by us through BC Hydro to the very people who will destroy our province!

    We do not need power – the National Energy Board is authority for that. When we do require more we have four viable ways to get it.

    1. Conservation
    2. Upgrading our present generators.
    3. Putting generators on flood control dams and new ones on existing dams
    4. Taking back the power we’re entitled to under the Columbia River Treaty.

    It’s critical that we all understand that private power depends upon the spring runoff for the water it needs, meaning it mainly produces power for a few short months at best and at the same time BC Hydro’s reservoirs are full to brimming. Because this power is of limited duration and at a time Hydro can’t use it, it’s exported bringing us within the purview of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

    A re-election of Mr. Campbell will mean the not so slow strangulation of BC Hydro, our power company that is the envy the world and it will happen this way. Hydro has lost 1/3 of its employees to Accenture, the bastard nephew of the infamous Enron, and its transmission lines to a new crown corporation, BCTC. Meanwhile, what’s left of our public power utility, BC Hydro, is banned from developing new sources of renewable energy and is forced instead to buy large quantities of expensive private river power that we don’t need and can’t use at more than twice the market price. Buy high and sell low! With just a few private projects now up and running already Hydro owes $30 BILLION on long term indexed prices and every private project adds to the total and tightens that strangling noose. Barred from producing new sources of power and still carrying its $7 BILLION Capital debt, Hydro is on its death bed only waiting for Mr. Campbell to administer the Last Rites.

    As he did with BC Rail, Premier Campbell promises to keep BC Hydro publicly owned – that, if nothing else, must tell us what he intends to do.

    Of huge concern is that BC Hydro, always able to pay of hundreds of millions a year dividends to the BC treasury, which go towards our schools, hospitals and social programs, now cannot do so. In essence then, the public is paying, through BC Hydro, for the capital costs of private companies like Ledcor and General Electric, while no longer receiving the bounty of BC Hydro’s much envied ability to create clean, cheap and constant energy.

    It doesn’t end there, of course. Each plant desecrates the rivers it diverts or dams (the industry prefers we call them weirs) for all time. We must remember that while economic missteps by government can be fixed by a later government, once we’ve lost our rivers and BC Hydro we can never get them back.

    This is indeed a “watershed” election (pun intended) where we’ll decide if we keep “supernatural BC” or turn it over to large international companies such as General Electric.

    The Liberal government, in the words of Oscar Wilde knows “the price of everything and the value of nothing”

    If we re-elect the Campbell government we will, quite rightly, be condemned by our children, our grandchildren and generations as yet unborn.


    Rafe Mair

    Friday, May 01, 2009

    Vote to protect BC's treasures

    While this video is definitely partisan regarding the upcoming BC elections, most of the issues covered are those I am somewhat informed on and agree with. As an election seems like the best, if not the only, way to stop much of the damage being done to our province, this video has my support; and I play my part here in giving a little boost to its circulation. Because of the scope of what's at risk, your vote can make a big difference.

    Tuesday, April 07, 2009

    Corky Evans on Taking Our Rivers Back

    No-one says it clearer: the so-called "Liberal" government is selling our resources. We can stop them. Watch the video:

    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Protect our food and farmers: Amend BC's new meat regulations

    The "sanitizing" of the BC meat industry has continued under the current government, slowing down a bit in the face of obvious faults, but pretty much holding to the same track. The effect has been ongoing limitation to the availability of quality meat in this province and financial damage to many farmers we've depended on to provide good quality meat; meat which, from most reports, is at least as safe as the corporate variety.

    From a common-sense perspective, the need for local meat (and local food in general) continues to grow for many reasons - but in the political realm, no-brainers have their support. With a governing party that has successfully(?) side-tracked this issue for a damaging length of time and shows no sign of "getting it", we citizens do have an option: there is an election in the offing. Perhaps there is another party who will get it. Ask your local representative - and vote for them, if they are likely to stop this damaging and ignorant trend. Perhaps you could show them this simple video:

    Sunday, March 08, 2009

    The Lies and Deception behind Gordon Campbell's BC Rail Deal

    An NDP motion has resulted in the release of many documents revealing what actually went on behind the scenes of the sale of BC Rail: the violation of a promise Campbell used to get elected. Unfortunately the deception and lies allowed Campbell and his government to get away with this at the time but the truth is at least a vindication and may play a part in the defeat of his party in the upcoming BC election.
    Photo © Chris Harris

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    Nature Diary of a Wilderness Dweller by Chris Czajkowski

    My current and recommended reading for those interested in the life and world immediately around them:

    Nature Diary of a Wilderness Dweller

    In 1988, Chris Czajkowski walked into British Columbia's Central Coast Mountains to build a homestead, a business, and a life. A Mountain Year is a beautifully-produced art book full of original paintings, sketches and diary entries, offering an awe-inspiring glimpse into the life of this independent spirit and the landscape that she calls home.

    In this illustrated journal, Czajkowski intimately describes the splendour of seasonal transformation with her trademark expressiveness; each day brings new obstacles and surprising revelations. At the start of the year, she writes, "The night was bright with a silvery soup of moonlight refracted off snowflakes fine as stardust." Spring arrives with breathtaking beauty and summer brings company from abroad. In the fall, Chris travels back to her first autumn at Nuk Tessli when she views "an extraordinarily beautiful moment. The clouds hung low enough to almost touch the water . . . and a wonderful, bluish, pearly luminescence covered everything." Prepare to witness the magnificence of a year in British Columbia's high-altitude wilderness, a place of astounding natural beauty like no other.

    More about Chris Czajkowski