In a devastating reversal for environmentalists, Canada’s Yukon Territory announced last week that it has decided to reverse an earlier promise to protect undeveloped Yukon territory. The reversal came after mining interests reportedly financed the Yukon Party, which came into power in the last election. The earlier plan with indigenous and environmental leaders would have protected 80 percent of the area known as the Peel watershed region which features some of Canada’s highest peaks and greatest glaciers as well as breathtaking tundra and forests.
The area is Larger than California but with only 37,000 inhabitants. It is considered one of the most important areas for preservation in the world. However, Canadian mining companies want to search for gold, zinc, copper, iron, and uranium. We previously saw how Canadian companies were involved in an equally alarming contract to wipe out mountain tops in pristine areas of Romania.
First Nations leaders wanted the entire 26,000-square-mile Peel region to be protected. However, they reached the earlier agreement for 80 percent to be protected and 20 percent to be mined. That was not enough for mining companies. Currie Dixon (right), a Yukon Party member in the Yukon Legislative Assembly who serves as Minister of Environment and Minister of Economic Development, simply said that the new majority wasn’t “comfortable with the plan” to preserve the area “and since we won a majority government, we felt a mandate to proceed in a manner that was the correct one.” Under the new “more comfortable” plan only 29 percent of the region is “protected” but that protection will not stop companies from building roads for development across the land.
It is quite a legacy for people like Dixon and the Yukon Party who can now watch one of the world’s most beautiful areas crisscrossed by exploration and development.
Source: National Geographic