Sunday, October 6, 2013

Northerners to oppose relicensing Cameco’s uranium operations

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October 1, 2013

Northerners to oppose relicensing Cameco’s uranium operations

LA RONGE, Sask. —Northern Saskatchewan residents will formally express their opposition to license renewals for uranium mining and milling projects at Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hearings in La Ronge this week.

“The world is waking up to the fact that this is a failed industry, environmentally and economically,” says Debbie Mihalicz, a Beauval resident and co-founder of the Committee for Future Generations. “Every day that one of Cameco’s uranium mines is in operation, an even greater volume of extremely hazardous nuclear waste is created that will remain radioactive for a million years. It’s time to put a stop to the destruction of the lands and waters we call home.”

The Committee for Future Generations and individual members of English River First Nation and Lac La Ronge Indian Band are among a host of intervenors scheduled to present oral submissions to the federal regulator regarding the relicensing of Cameco’s Key Lake, McArthur River and Rabbit Lake operations.

“It’s worth noting that the agenda also includes English River First Nation, Des Nedhe Development, Pinehouse Business North and Kineepik, an alleged Métis local whose validity has been contested in a Statement of Claim filed in court. But they are all tied to the recent collaboration agreements Cameco and Areva made with English River First Nation and Pinehouse, mandating support for existing operations,” says Candyce Paul, an English River First Nation band member.

“Formal opposition to a license at these hearings would breach the agreements, jeopardizing contracts, jobs and funds. Our communities are being railroaded into becoming cheerleaders for industry,” says Paul.

“The effect of uranium mines on Indigenous rights is undeniable,” says Kirstin Scansen, a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and graduate student of the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Governance program. “Cameco’s operations – and the licensing and relicensing processes themselves – are taking place within a larger context of Canadian settler-colonialism, exploitative resource extraction, and dispossession of Indigenous territory.”

Scansen, Paul, Mihalicz and Committee for Future Generations members from English River First Nation and the northern village of Pinehouse will also be present at a press conference on October 2 at 7pm at the Anglican Parish Hall, where the Sierra Club will present its findings of massive excess emissions from Cameco mining operations.

(English) Candyce Paul, 306-288-3157; Kirstin Scansen, 604-839-1302; Debbie Mihalicz, 306-288-7933
(Cree) Dale Smith, 306-884-7718
(Dene) Marius Paul, 306-288-3157