Despite widespread concerns over the health and environmental impacts of shipping coal in uncovered rail cars and barges, and notwithstanding the climate change implications of burning coal, a plan to ship US thermal coal to Texada Island is scheduled to move forward without public information and consultation processes on the Sunshine Coast. Port Metro Vancouver wants to ship the coal across our coastal waters to Texada for open air storage and transshipment via deep-sea freighters to Asia.
Opposition to increased coal shipments is growing across the Lower Mainland, including Metro Vancouver (formerly the GVRD) and affected US states due to transportation and safety concerns, human health, environmental threats, economic & trade concerns, global climate change and ocean acidification.
Here on the Sunshine Coast the Alliance 4 Democracy, the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association and the Sunshine Coast Senior Citizens (COSCO-BC) are presenting The Coal Hard Facts, a community forum at 2:00 pm on November 23rd at the Sechelt Indian Band Hall in Sechelt (behind McDonalds) to explore the issues of Thermal Coal Exports versus The Green Economy.
The forum will host a panel of guest speakers including Dr. Frank James, Health Officer for San Juan County, Washington, and founding member of a 200+ alliance of medical doctors in Whatcom County deeply concerned about the health and safety impacts of shipping coal. Videographer Eoghan Moriarty will outline the Lower Mainland campaign opposing increased coal shipments with a short film and commentary. Nicholas Simons, our MLA who has spoken publicly against the plan, is on the panel. The toxic impacts of coal, its transportation impacts on our maritime and tourism economy, and alternatives to burning coal for electricity will be discussed.
The Coal Hard Facts forum brings an important community conversation on the risks that thermal coal shipments pose to the Sunshine Coast’s economy, health and environment. The sponsors hope to build support for the Provincial Government to undertake a full environmental and health assessment of the proposed project prior to any potential approvals.