Parks Vs. Mining
The Flathead Valley runs north out of Montana into Canada. It's a cog in the proposed Yellowstone-to-Yukon corridor, a corridor viewed as vital for wildlife preservation in that it would help prevent parks such as Glacier and Yellowstone from becoming ecological islands isolated from other gene pools.
The valley also is valued by mining interests for its coal reserves, and for some years there has been talk about a mine going in just north of Glacier National Park. Those who oppose the project fear it could pollute lakes and rivers in and around Glacier.
In Canada, environmentalists and park advocates were hopeful the mining could be put off by a "parks feasibility study" that would determine whether portions of the valley deserved to be preserved as a national park, perhaps as part of an enlarged Waterton Lakes National Park.
Well, today a story in the Toronto Globe and Mail says such a study likely will not occur. According to the article, federal authorities in Canada have, under pressure from British Columbia provincial officials, relented from a condition that the parks feasibility study be conducted.
"I find this unbelievable," Vicky Husband, one of B.C.'s leading environmentalists, told the newspaper. "This is an area that belongs to all Canadians and even though B.C. wants to allow coal mining in there, I would expect the federal government to show some backbone and demand a parks feasibility study.
"It is absolutely one of the most environmentally significant places in B.C."
And it's a place where mining carries the potential for harming not only Waterton Lakes NP, but also Glacier.