The uranium industry recently held their "3rd International Conference on Uranium". While company executives and technical people engaged in expensive self-promotion, the Conference Board of Canada released a study showing that, in spite of the "uranium boom", Northern Saskatchewan remains one of the poorest regions in all of Canada.
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Background paper for Keepers of the Water IV, Wollaston Lake, Aug. 21, 2010
Last week I looked at how the North Saskatchewan Environmental Quality Committee (NSEQC) is too close to industry to have any significant influence on protecting the North. This week I look at how the Athabasca Working Group (AWG) environmental monitoring program is also too close to industry and how this undercuts its scientific credibility and ability to reassure northerners that it continues to be safe to live off the land.
On my recent trip to the Keepers of the Water gathering at Wollaston Lake I witnessed the intricacies of northern uranium politics. On June 29th the Inuit group Nunavummiut Makitagunarninit had called for a public inquiry on the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine in Nunavut. It opposed leaving the decision solely to the regulatory process, arguing a public inquiry “is more transparent, flexible and democratic”. It added, “Nunavut’s organizations have already shown themselves incapable of protecting the public interest” and “land claims institutions are not equipped to deal with the complex long-term cumulative effects of a nascent uranium industry in the territory.”