THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT OF VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE
Today's decision by the government of British Columbia to designate the Tatshenshini-Alsek region as a permanent provincial park protects a region rich in valuable natural resources. It is a critically important decision for this rare and pristine region and all its citizens.
North America's wildest river, the Tatshenshini-Alsek, was recognized last year by the United Nations as an endangered river whose importance deserved international recognition and preservation. The region is rich in natural resources, including endangered and unique plant and animal life and fish stocks that support a mulit-million dollar industry.
The Tatshenshini-Alsek River -- all its valuable resources and the people who rely on them -- were threatened last year by a proposal to build the world's largest open pit copper mine on the Tatshenshini Creek watershed in British Columbia, 15 miles from the U.S. border. Many of us in the United States and Canada worked to bring attention to the proposed mine, which would have caused not only severe environmental damage but also serious economic harm to the region, particularly to the fishing industry.
Premier Harcourt acted boldly and with foresight to protect and preserve the natural heritage of one of the world's most important rivers and magnificent regions, not only for this generation, but for all those to come as well. He deserves commendation for his decision.