"Yukon Government Opens Vast Peel River Watershed to Mining"

"First Nations and conservation groups sue administration claiming violation of land treaty."

"The Peel River Watershed is a vast and undisturbed wilderness area in the northern Yukon Territory of Canada spread over a whopping 26,000 square miles — larger than the state of West Virginia. It is the northern tip of a major wildlife corridor stretching from Yellowstone to Yukon and is home to several rare and threatened species such as the grizzly bear, wolverine, and woodland caribou. This pristine, largely unroaded region, that includes some of Canada’s largest glaciers, boreal forests, wetlands,  and wide expanses of tundra, is now under threat.

In January, the government of Yukon unilaterally decided to open up 71 percent of the land to mining claims, ignoring the recommendations of a massive seven-year land use planning study by the the Peel Planning Commission.

In response, the First Nations of Nacho Nyak Dun and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, whose lives are intricately tied to these wildlands,  as well as the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Yukon Chapter (CPAWS Yukon) and the Yukon Conservation Society, have filed a lawsuit against the ruling Yukon Party government. The suit claims that the government move  violates the provisions of a land claims treaty it had signed with First Nations that requires the 80 percent of the watershed are be kept wild."

Ron Johnson reports for Earth Island Journal February 5, 2014.

Source: Earth Island Journal, 02/07/2014