On May 10, 2019 MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, Niki Ashton raised the issue of the proposed Wanipigow Silica Sand project before the House of Commons in Ottawa. Stating that local residents of Hollow Water First Nation and Seymourville are concerned that the activities resulting from the Wanipigow Silica Sand mine will expose them to harmful carcinogens, Niki Ashton asks if the Federal government will step in to ensure that a proper environmental assessment is done before the project moves into construction. Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna responded by reminding the House that the Federal government is committed to rebuild trust in environmental assessments through Bill-C69.
Currently, the government of Manitoba is assessing the project under Manitoba’s Environment Act, effectively deciding whether or not the project requires a federal and provincial environmental assessment. Proponents of the proposed silica sand mine state that the project does not require a full environmental assessment, as it is just a quarry. Local residents and critics of the proposed silica sand mine state that the project absolutely requires both a provincial and federal environmental asssessment due to risks resulting from silica dust exposure (a known carcinogen), increased traffic on poorly maintained provincial highway, acid rock drainage and the use of polyacrylamide polymers in the wet sand processing.