Tuesday, June 30, 2009

UNESCO to Investigate Threats to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park on U.S.-Canadian Border

Source: EarthJustice Press Release, June 26, 2009.

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations voted today to promptly send a mission to Canada to investigate threats to Glacier National Park (Montana) and Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta) posed by coal mining and gas drilling proposals in British Columbia's adjacent Flathead River Valley.

Together these parks make up Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a U.N. World Heritage Site that spans the U.S.-Canadian border. Grizzlies, wolves, wolverines, lynx and many at-risk species depend on the pristine habitats and pure water of the two parks and surrounding wilderness. The Flathead River Valley, extending north from Glacier National Park into British Columbia, has the highest density of grizzly bears in North America's interior, and some of the purest water in the world.

The committee's action was in response to a petition written by Earthjustice on behalf of eleven environmental groups in the U.S. and Canada. Last week, over 53,000 people in the U.S. and Canada wrote in support of the petition to decision makers in both countries, asking them to protect the parks from the upstream mining and drilling.

"People on both sides of the border don't want mountain-top removal coal mines and gas flares belching polluted air and water into the cleanest natural areas in the Northern Rockies," said Jessica Lawrence of Earthjustice. "There are world class national parks on both sides of the border that would be polluted by energy and mining development in the Canadian Flathead.

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