JUNEAU – In an effort to build on a positive working relationship that will expand a meaningful, responsible collaboration on transboundary resource issues, Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott announced today that the Walker Administration will reach out to the provincial government of British Columbia, the Canadian mining industry and First Nation leaders during a visit to the region May 4–6, 2015.
“As neighbors, we have many things in common and I want to strengthen the relationships we Alaskans have with British Columbia,” said Lieutenant Governor Mallott. “I look forward to this trip and seeing first-hand the Canadian side of the transboundary issues.”
While in Victoria, Lieutenant Governor Mallott plans on meeting with British Columbia’s Ministries of Environment, Energy and Mining, and Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.
In Vancouver, the Lieutenant Governor will attend the Vancouver Board of Trade’s annual luncheon for BC Mining Week, keynoted by the President and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia. He also plans to meet with representatives of the First Nations Energy and Mining Council, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and the BC Assembly of First Nations.
There are currently over 630 recognized First Nations governments or bands across Canada and they represent the various Aboriginal peoples. At the invitation of the Xat’sull (hat-shall) Nation, Lieutenant Governor Mallott will also travel to Williams Lake to tour the area around the recent Mt. Polley mining dam breach.
Three of Alaska’s most important salmon rivers: the Taku, the Stikine, and the Unuk are in watersheds that could be impacted by Canadian mines during the life of the mine, and through closure and reclamation.
“These rivers are key to Southeast Alaska’s way of life including Native cultures, community economies, recreation and subsistence, and, of course, its profitable seafood and tourism industries that employ thousands of people,” Lieutenant Governor Mallott noted.
Governor Bill Walker designated Mallott to lead an internal transboundary waters working group earlier this year. The group includes the Alaska Commissioners of the Departments of Environmental Conservation, Fish and Game, and Natural Resources. The administration is committed to bringing new focus and energy in reaching out to affected Alaskans and their organizations as well as to Provincial and Canadian counterparts to continue to find ways to foster constructive working relationships that can protect Alaska’s interests.