Wild Border Watersheds

Editorial: Good neighbours talk to each other (Vancouver Sun)

... British Columbians should welcome rather than resist overtures from our neighbours in Alaska when they express concerns about the possible effects of half a dozen mining ventures on rivers in the province’s northwest they worry will affect wild salmon, water quality, sport and commercial fishing, tourism jobs and a unique way of life. Trout Unlimited is far from a radical organization and when it formed Salmon Beyond Borders and became partners with Alaska’s tribes to address the issue, it wasn’t out of zealotry, but from genuine pro-active concern over finding ways to ensure that development in B.C. would not be at the expense of Southeast Alaska’s rich downstream resources.

This seems entirely reasonable. Both Alaskans and British Columbians have coinciding interests here. Both place a premium on the value of wild salmon. Both have concerns about First Nations rights. Both harbour deep affection for outdoor recreation and the protection of wilderness resources. Neither wants to hobble development but neither desires a deregulated free-for-all in mineral extraction, either. Accidents such as the Exxon Valdes and at Mt. Polley are reminders that assurances are not guarantees and much is at stake.

What’s the solution? Serious talk, for one thing. We are good neighbours. It’s in all our best interests to remain so. Mutually agreeable solutions to current and as yet unforeseen problems are far better for everyone than appealing to adjudicatory agencies such as the International Joint Commission or, worse, resorting to litigation....

(To read complete source article, click "Vancouver Sun")

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