Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman has issued the following statement about the ongoing investigation into the Mount Polley tailings pond breach:
“The collapse of the tailings facility at Mount Polley was one of the worst environmental disasters in our province’s history. It has had tremendous consequences for the local environment and economy.
“A disaster like this should never have happened in B.C., and it must never happen again.
“I have spoken with the Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. We are in agreement that British Columbians deserve a rigorous and independent investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and to ensure any person or company that broke the law is held responsible.
“B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service is actively working alongside federal agencies on a complex and thorough investigation. While the three-year anniversary of the disaster also brings us to the statute of limitations on provincial charges, British Columbians should know the overall objective continues to be ensuring a complete investigation.
“All of the information gathered during the course of this investigation will be considered by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada should charges be recommended. Potential charges under the federal fisheries act remain very much in play and, in fact, potential penalties are more significant.
“I have full confidence in the work of these law enforcement officials and I know that many concerned British Columbians join me in looking forward to the outcome of this important investigation.”