Kent tells association he won't order review

Environment Minister Peter Kent has told opponents of Ajax mine that a panel review is not warranted for the project.

A letter from Kent is posted on the Stop Ajax website.

"Based on the information currently available on the potential environmental effects of the project, referral to a review panel ls not warranted at this time," Kent wrote in a letter to Donna and Ivan Sambolec.

The couple are members of Kamloops Area Preservation Association.

Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar is in Ottawa today to lobby Kent to issue an order for a panel review.

The Environment Minister has the power to call for a panel review based on potential environmental damage and public concerns. Both city council and the board of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District have said those criteria are evident and are calling on Ottawa to bring in the higher-level review.

Industry observers say the panel review brings a higher level of scrutiny and independence to the environmental review, which is otherwise dependent on bureaucrats and consultants hired by the mining companies.

But Kent said "under the act, the factors examined through a comprehensive study process (current process) and review panel process are identical.

"Both processes deliver high quality environmental assessments leading to a determination of significance of adverse environmental effects of a project. Both processes involve public participation and funding to assist the public and aboriginal groups to participate in the environmental assessment."

Kamloops Area Preservation Association has asked Kent to reconsider his decision.

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