WASHINGTON- President Joe Biden is expected to add today to the pressure on Canada for a bilateral investigation into toxic mining runoff in a key cross-border watershed.
Activists, experts and Indigenous leaders in both Canada and the U.S. want an investigation into toxins from B.C. mining operations they say have been polluting the Kootenay River basin for decades.
The “reference,” as it’s known, would be overseen by the International Joint Commission, a bilateral body established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909.
Both countries must agree to a reference, and Canada has been reluctant, despite pressure from Indigenous groups, conservationists and even the U.S. State Department.
Erin Sexton, a University of Montana research scientist who specializes in Canada-U.S. transboundary rivers, calls Canada’s reticence “confounding.”
Sexton says the White House will push for a reference, which she calls an ideal way to address the issue, since it allows both governments to have input into the process.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Friday, March 24, 2023.