By Christine Rumleskie
Vancouver-based First Coal says it’s complying with the Supreme Court Judge’s ruling to temporarily halt drilling near Chetwynd.
Last week, B.C. Supreme Court Judge Paul Williamson implemented a 90-day ban on drilling, in order for a caribou recovery plan to be developed.
President and CEO Douglas Smith says First Coal has an extensive caribou mitigation and monitoring plan in place, and the judge recognized that in his ruling.
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Last week, West Moberly Chief Roland Willson indicated the dispute wasn’t between First Coal and the First Nations, but rather West Moberly and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.
Chief Roland Willson said, "To be fair, it’s not really First Coal’s fault. They applied for the mine, but it was the Energy Ministry’s obligation to inform First Coal that there was a winter ungulate range for the Burnt Pine Caribou herd."
The judge ordered the Ministry to work with West Moberly to establish a mutually-acceptable recovery plan.
Smith says First Coal is available to help during that process to create a plan to protect and augment the Burnt Pine caribou herd.
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The number of Burnt Caribou in the area has been estimated between 11 and 37 animals.
For West Moberly’s take on this situation, click here.