Canadian Mining Journal

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ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS Teck Cominco, EPA at Odds

VANCOUVER, British Columbia The generous offer to fund studies and remediation at Lake Roosevelt made by TECK COM...



VANCOUVER, British Columbia The generous offer to fund studies and remediation at Lake Roosevelt made by TECK COMINCO has been rejected by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At issue are effects on seven Washington State counties from Teck Cominco’s Trail, B.C., metallurgical operations.

Teck Cominco has offered to spend up to US$13 million to fund human health and ecological studies at Lake Roosevelt. The studies would be done under direct EPA supervision. The company would also pay for remediation caused by past operations and to other work requested by the EPA. Furthermore, Teck Cominco offered US$5 million to the State of Washington, regional tribes, local communities, and the EPA for past and future costs of participation in various studies.

The state and federal authorities in the United States have complained of damage to their properties since the Cominco smelter was built over 100 years ago. Sometimes their complaints have been justified, but Teck Cominco has gone to extraordinary lengths to clean up its facility. The company says that the EPA now wants its U.S. subsidiary, TECK COMINCO METALS, to sign an agreement under the U.S. superfund statute (CERCLA) and to recognize the jurisdiction of U.S. law over its Canadian facility.

The potential cross-boundary application of U.S. environmental laws raises issues of real concern between Canada and the United States, says Teck Cominco, and adopting foreign laws is not up to the company. The responsibility for these important trans-national issues is a matter for the respective federal governments.

More information about Teck Cominco’s environmental commitments in general and the Lake Roosevelt area in particular are available at www.teckcominco.com.