email message from David Pelly follows.
I would only ask this in extraordinary circumstances. Would you consider sending this appeal, below, on to your list of contacts? NIRB’s decision on this application from Uravan will without doubt be precedent-setting. If we lose this one, the entire area will be riddled with similar projects in no time. (See numbers below, for a sense of what’s waiting in the wings.)
A flood of emails to NIRB will make a difference, I firmly believe. Deadline for input is Dec 12.
From: David Pelly [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: December 1, 2008 4:36 PM
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Subject: FW: Uravan Garry Lake Project, NIRB File 08EN037
There is a crisis looming on the barrenlands. Population estimates indicate the Beverly caribou population has dropped by 98% in the past 14 years, since the last proper aerial survey. Some salient detail appears in my email below.
As this news arrives (in the press today across the country), the Nunavut Impact Review Board is considering an application from Uravan Minerals, for development of their uranium property right on the caribou calving ground, just south of Garry Lake (Back River). For details – if you need more – visit the NIRB website and look under ftp://ftp.nirb.ca/REVIEWS/CURRENT_REVIEWS/
I know there are a million and one issues demanding your attention. But for the sake of the barren ground caribou, and the wild spaces we all cherish, please write a short email to NIRB (email@example.com
) this week, demanding that the Uravan application be denied. Believe it – your letter can make a difference.
Thanks for your help.
David F. Pellywww.davidpelly.com
From: David Pelly [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: December 1, 2008 4:12 PM
Subject: Uravan Garry Lake Project, NIRB File 08EN037
Please register my strong opposition to Uravan’s plans for mineral development on the calving grounds of the Beverly caribou. And in your deliberations, please take note of the following:
At the NWT Barren-ground Caribou Summit in 2007, delegates voted overwhelming in favour of establishing their first priority as “Protect the calving grounds in the NWT and Nunavut” and directed the GNWT to “Meet with Nunavut to begin discussions about protection calving grounds.”
Two weeks ago the GNWT revealed their evidence at a meeting of the BQCMB that “the numbers of adult female caribou (cows) seen on the Beverly calving ground during June systematic reconnaissance surveys dropped from 5,737 in 1994 to 93 in 2008, and that very few calves were seen during the 2008 survey – only 15 calves for every 100 cows. (In comparison, usually about 80 calves for every 100 cows are seen on the calving grounds of healthy barren-ground caribou herds near the peak of calving, as was the case with the Bathurst herd in June 2008.)”
As reported by CP, the CBC, The Globe and Mail, and elsewhere today, “The massive Beverly herd, which roams the tundra from northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and well into the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, once numbered about 276,000 animals. But a just-released survey suggests the number of caribou cows on the calving grounds of the massive Beverly herd have fallen by a stunning 98 per cent over the last 14 years.”
In the past few years, while caribou numbers have been dropping, disruptive mineral exploration activity on the calving ground and the adjacent post-calving aggregation areas has risen dramatically. As of this month, there are 727 active mineral tenures (permits, claims and leases) on the Beverly calving ground. This level of industrial activity is clearly not sustainable.
Major mining companies – De Beers, Areva, and Cameco – have declared that they will no longer conduct activities on caribou calving and post-calving grounds in Nunavut, because they understand the implications of this activity.
The proposal before the NIRB at present is bound to set a precedent. It is essential that the NIRB send a clear signal to industry that mineral development on the calving and post-calving grounds is out of the question. To do otherwise is to accept the decline of the caribou population as unimportant to the people who depend on these animals, both physically and culturally – these caribou provide millions of dollars worth of meat annually to the residents of user-communities in Nunavut, NWT, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Not protecting caribou habitat also contradicts the broad desires of Canadians to see this iconic species and its habitat protected for future generations. The NIRB surely has a responsibility to do what it can to protect the caribou and caribou habitat.
While one cannot state categorically that the decline in caribou numbers is a direct result of industrial activity, we can be absolutely sure that it does not help the caribou, and that their recovery will be rendered next to impossible if their habitat is taken over by industrial activity. NIRB should now declare that this will not be permitted to occur – the only way to do that is to deny Uravan’s application.