Alaska and B.C. strengthen commitment to protect shared environment
December 3, 2015 By Ground Water Canada
Victoria – A memorandum of understanding signed by Premier Christy Clark and State of Alaska Governor Bill Walker strengthens cross-border partnerships between British Columbia and Alaska in many areas of common interest including mining, water and other environmental matters, the Province of B.C. said in a news release.
The MOU recognizes and formalizes the mutual commitment of Alaska and British Columbia to protect and enhance the shared environment, including transboundary rivers, watersheds and fisheries – for the benefit of both jurisdictions. It provides for greater involvement and collaboration on proposed major mine development in either jurisdiction.
This MOU builds on the work done by State of Alaska Lt.-Gov. Byron Mallott and Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett during their respective visits to British Columbia and Alaska, the release said.
Recognizing the importance of protecting and monitoring shared waterways, Alaska and British Columbia will establish a bilateral working group on the protection of transboundary waters. This group will work together to develop and implement a joint water quality monitoring program for trans-boundary waters and ensure this data is made publicly available.
Additionally, the bilateral working group will build on existing collaboration between Alaska and British Columbia on mining and other development projects in or affecting transboundary watersheds by:
- Creating more opportunities and establishing a framework to enable government representatives and scientists to be involved in each jurisdiction’s environmental assessment and permitting processes for these types of projects.
- Developing ways for interested Tribes, First Nations, and stakeholders to access information and provide input for such transboundary developments.
Under the MOU Alaska and British Columbia also agree to share best practices on workforce development and training, advance marine reliability and safety, and foster continued growth of existing and increased transportation links.
Recognizing the strong partnership between Alaska and British Columbia, the MOU reinforces the existing emergency management mutual aid response agreement between both jurisdictions. Both governments will also continue their long-standing cooperation on the joint visitor industry marketing program that promotes travel to the Alaska and Western Canada region and also look for other areas where Alaska and British Columbia might work together.
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