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Wednesday August 6, 2014

Government and Company must end the spin doctoring and provide answers.

WILLIAMS LAKE – The Williams Lake and Xat’sull (Soda Creek) Indian Bands are demanding answers after being ignored by the government and Imperial Metals since the devastating environmental Mount Polley tailing pond catastrophe occurred on the their Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw Traditional Territory in the early hours of Monday morning.

In a joint statement, Williams Lake Chief Ann Louie and Xat’sull Chief Bev Sellars stated: "Our communities are filled with sorrow, frustration and anger as they are left wondering just
what poisons are in the water, and what is being done to address this disaster. Three days after the disaster, finally we have had direct discussion with the provincial government. This time
lapse during a time of crisis is unacceptable."

“We are the stewards of the land within our territory and bear a major brunt of the huge environmental and human impacts of this disaster. It is totally unacceptable that we should be ignored as we desperately try to understand the scope and impact of this tragedy, and we demand answers now.

“Monday’s devastating tailings pond breach is something that both our First Nations have lived in fear of for many years. We have raised repeated concerns about the safety and security of this
mine, but they were ignored. Now we are being ignored again. Enough is enough.”

Chief Louie added: “This is a critical spawning time for salmon in the Quesnel and Fraser Rivers and tributaries and Quesnel Lake, and we are demanding the government and company provide
us with immediate information on the impacts of this disaster on our salmon and other fish stocks and wildlife – there is no time to waste.

“Or are they saying they do not monitor the tailing pond and have no idea what toxins are in it, and have never had a plan for responding to a breach?’

Chief Sellars said: “Once again it is First Nations that are left to deal with the destruction caused by a greed for dollars and the rush to allow companies to open mines regardless of the risks and
the warnings, and once again, we are the last to be consulted or informed and we will be the ones left trying to pick up the pieces.”

Chief Louie noted that only through the persistence of Williams Lake Indian Band Councilor Willie Sellars, was contact made with Mount Polley's Don Parsons, Chief Operating Officer, of Imperial Metals Corporation. Agreements signed promising to keep the two Bands informed have clearly not been kept. As part of our agreements, we require immediate information regarding the threats to our traditional territory and way of life because as traditional stewards of the land we will be an
integral part of the assessment and monitoring of the environmental damage.

For more information, please contact:
Chief Ann Louie Office: (250) 296-3507 or Cell: (250) 267-2688
Chief Bev Sellars Office: (250) 989-2323 or Cell: (250) 267-6924