The Cree Nations of James Bay have reaffirmed their position on uranium mining in Eeyou Istchee.
In a resolution passed August 6 at the Annual General Assembly in Waswanipi, the Cree government reiterated its commitment to ensuring that any land falling under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement remains free of uranium exploration, mining and waste emplacement. The resolution was passed unanimously.
“The Cree Nation has consistently and repeatedly spoken out against uranium exploration, mining and waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee,” said Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come. “We Crees continue to live off of our lands, and it is our responsibility to protect Eeyou Istchee. The waste created by uranium mining will remain radioactive and dangerous to the land, the animals, the waters and our way-of-life for hundreds of thousands of years, and there are no known methods to manage these risks over this time period.”
The resolution references many of the environmental dangers commonly associated with uranium development, as well as the problems that slow-to-decay radioactive waste would present to hundreds of future generations.
The Quebec government issued a province-wide temporary moratorium on uranium development in March 2013 so that the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) would be able to conduct a thorough inquiry into the matter.
The inquiry’s one-year mandate began in May 2014. Since then, many Crees have expressed their opposition to uranium mining in Eeyou Istchee at hearings held throughout the communities. Strateco Resources’ Matoush uranium project just north of Mistissini has also been shut down indefinitely. Further hearings are scheduled for September 3-5 in Mistissini. Those hearings will also be availbale in Chisasibi and Chibougamau via video-conference. The hearings are also livestreamed online, and can be accessed on the BAPE’s website (www.bape.gouv.qc.ca).