Federal Government Announces Flathead to be excluded from Planned Sale of Dominion Coal Blocks


For immediate release

Federal Government Announces Flathead to be excluded from Planned Sale of Dominion Coal Blocks

September 23, 2013- Flathead Wild, a coalition of conservation groups dedicated to protecting the Flathead Valley in the East Kootenay, welcomes the federal government’s announcement that it will exempt portions of the Dominion Coal Blocks within the Flathead Valley from a planned sale of federal lands. At the same time, the groups remain concerned that inappropriate development of the coal blocks adjacent to the Valley could jeopardize water quality and wildlife populations. 

“While details around the planned sale are not yet clear, we are encouraged that the Federal Government has confirmed that portions of the coal blocks overlapping with the Flathead River Watershed will not be included in the sale, and that 

discussions with the Province are under way to ensure the protection of the entire watershed from development” said John Bergenske, Wildsight.

“The Dominion Coal Block lands in the Flathead are critical for the integrity of the watershed as a whole. Although this announcement is promising, we need these areas to be legally protected under the existing ban on mining and energy development,” said Peter Wood of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

“We remain concerned that coal extraction adjacent to the Flathead will jeopardize connectivity in the longest remaining wildlife corridor on continent,” said Wendy Francis, Yukon to Yellowstone Conservation Initiative.

Wildsight, Sierra Club BC, CPAWS BC, and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative are working to protect the Flathead permanently with a National Park in the southeastern one-third of the valley, to fill in the missing piece of the adjacent Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The groups are also calling for a Wildlife Management Area in the rest of the Flathead and adjoining habitat.

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Contact:

John Bergenske, Wildsight: (250) 489-9605

Peter Wood, CPAWS-BC: (604) 685-7445

Wendy Francis, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative: (403) 763-8633

 

Photo by Garth Lenz