France Libertés – Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, Green Cross France et Territoires and Green Cross International support the petition started by the French antinuclear coalition Sortir du Nucléaire to prevent uranium mining by Areva on the Nunavut Inuit Territory, Canada.
This project raises fundamental questions on the consequences it might have on the livelihood of surrounding communities, their access to safe water supplies and their right to live in a healthy environment. As noted by local NGO Makita, the project and Areva’s operating habits put Nunavut’s fragile environment at risk. That’s why it is calling for a massive civil society’s response in the face of intimidation attempts.
Being extremely dependent on nuclear energy, France would be the first consumer of uranium extracted this way, which is at the expense of local communities’ living conditions. Our organisations hosted a workshop on “water and energy” in Marseilles in March, in the context of the National Debate on Energy Transition. We will not tolerate endangering the water supply and the right to a healthy environment of those Nunavut populations on one hand while promoting the French dependency on nuclear energy on the other when alternative solutions exist, are well known and have a much lower impact.
Nicolas Imbert, Director of Green Cross France et Territoires, goes on saying that “France can and is confronted to the pressing need to develop energy efficiency and local energy supplies. Seeking to extract uranium in unacceptable conditions to fulfill our nuclear energy needs is not only strategically and financially hard to understand but also puts local communities at risk and too much pressure on the environment”.
Adam Koniuszewski, Green Cross International‘s Chief Operating Officer and treasurer of Green Cross France et Territoires, adds that “Nuvanut’s uranium mining project takes place in a context of disengagement by the federal government from environmental protection issues. In 2012, the Conservatives’ omnibus bill overhauled the Navigable Waters Protection Act so that federal approval is no longer required for developments that may affect the thousands of bodies of water crisscrossing Canada. The move was criticized by opposition parties and by environmental and aboriginal NGOs. “This is just another bill that removes protection of our lands from corporate industry and greed,” says Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. (…) The erosion of our people’s Treaty rights and our territories is just non-stop,” he said. “Harper (was) not looking out for the best interests of Canada’s citizens or First Nations and aboriginals. He’s certainly never consulted us.”
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