Alaska, BC formalize agreement to protect trans-boundary rivers
Last updated 10/16/2016 at Noon
Gov. Byron Mallott Oct. 6 announced that Alaska and British Columbia have signed a statement of understanding aimed at strengthening a commitment to protect trans-boundary rivers.
Signed by Mallott, B.C. Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett and B.C. Minister of Environment Mary Polak, the agreement formalizes a mutual commitment to protect and enhance the shared environment, including trans-boundary rivers, watersheds and fisheries, for the benefit of both jurisdictions.
"I am pleased that we were able to move forward with this measure," said Mallott.
"It is another step in Alaska's commitment to open and transparent collaboration with our Canadian neighbors on the vital issue of safeguarding our precious trans-boundary watersheds that feed our people and nourish our cultures." Implementation of the statement of understanding will be overseen by a bilateral working group, consisting of the commissioners of the Alaska departments of environmental conservation, fish and game and natural resources and the deputy ministers of the British Columbia ministries of energy and mines and environment.
The working group will establish and oversee a technical working group that will identify a reliable and accurate process for the collection and distribution of baseline water quality data; look for opportunities to build on and enhance participation in mine project environmental assessments; and share reports on mine discharges, operations and closure.
In addition, the bilateral working group will build on the ongoing collaboration between Alaska and British Columbia in the trans-boundary region.
"British Columbia and Alaska have a long history of working together and supporting each other, as good neighbors do," said Bennett.
"This statement of cooperation between British Columbia and Alaska ensures we are working together effectively on trans-boundary water quality, environmental assessments and permitting for mine projects, and reporting on mine discharges, operations and closure."