LETTER — The following letter from federal environment minister Leona Aglukkaq to Kamloops mayor Peter Milobar is dated Feb. 7 and was received at City Hall Feb. 17:
Thank you for your correspondence of December 5, 2013, in follow up to our meeting of October 24, 2013, concerning the proposed Ajax Mine Project (the Project) near Kamloops, British Columbia (B.C.). I regret the delay in responding.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) and B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office are conducting a cooperative federal and provincial environmental assessment of the Project. The objective of that process is an efficient and rigorous assessment of the environmental effects of the Project that is informed by meaningful public participation.
I am aware that KGHM International may be considering changes to the Project to address concerns raised by the public. If changes to the Project are brought forward, the Agency and B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office will determine if the changes have any implications for the ongoing environmental assessment process.
Under the former Act, the factors examined through the comprehensive study and review panel processes are identical. Both processes deliver high quality environmental assessments leading to a determination of the significance of adverse environmental effects of a project. Both processes involve public participation and funding to assess the public and Aboriginal groups to participate in the environmental assessment.
I would like to thank the City of Kamloops for its ongoing input into the Environment assessment process as an active member of the working group. Working with federal departments and B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office, the Agency will also continue to gather and review information on the Project and its environmental effects, including the issues you have identified in your letter, to ensure that they will be addressed in the environmental assessment process.
Hon. LEONA AGLUKKAQ, PC, MP
Minister of the Environment