February 27, 2006

BC invites Montana to participate in EA review of Lodgepole coal mine project

VICTORIA, BC-The British Columbia government has invited the state of Montana to participate in the province's environmental assessment (EA) review of the proposed Lodgepole coal mine project in southeastern BC about 40 km north of the international boundary. In a letter to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, Premier Gordon Campbell invited the state to be part of the EA advisory group for the project. This is consistent with one of the guiding principles of BC's EA process, i.e. that all parties potentially affected by an undertaking be involved in the review. Campbell also proposed that the two jurisdictions conduct a comprehensive review of existing environmental data and research on the Flathead River watershed, within which the proposed project would be located. This review, he said, would enable agencies in both jurisdictions to work together from a shared data set and would assist EAs for future natural resource developments in the Flathead region. Responding to the invitiation, Governor Schweitzer said, "Montana looks forward to working with British Columbia as we move forward with the review process."

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