Vancouver Island needs to be working towards environmental sustainability. Our industries and societies should operate with a lower impact on our environment to ensure the preservation of biodiversity and functioning ecosystems for our future. There is the will to do this – communities up and down the Island are diversifying their economies, leaning towards lower impact and sustainable industries.
The proposed Raven Underground Coal Project is a massive step backwards. The plan to mine over 28 million metric tonnes of coal and rock from the Comox Valley is simply not the direction we need to be headed. The Raven Project requires the disruption of wildlife corridors, the partial dredging of the Alberni inlet (to facilitate tankers to export the coal) and the alteration of salmonid-bearing creeks.
It poses direct risk to ecosystems in several watersheds in the Comox Valley, to the marine ecology along the export route and to water quality and security downhill from the mine. It threatens more sustainable and environmentally sound industries such as shellfish aquaculture, tourism, and fisheries – all operating and sustaining communities near or within the proposed mine site, trucking route, port site and tanker route.
All this risk so that we can export the world’s dirtiest resource, and relapse into the boom-bust, finite resource cycle that has created economic hardship in rural communities across the Island and across BC.
The Raven Project is also part of a larger problem: it is one of nearly 20 mines proposed in BC, a province that is an international leader in coal exports. Some of this coal arrives at port by rail via the U.S., where governments have prohibited its export in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. British Columbia – a province whose coal exports aren’t being counted towards our provincial carbon emission totals – needs to be leading development in alternative energy sectors, not clinging to the most carbon intensive fuel on earth.
The Wilderness Committee has been working with grassroots groups in the Comox and Alberni Valleys to rally opposition to the proposed Raven Project. As part of this effort, we’re proud to host the Coal Hard Truth Forum on October 9th at 7:00 pm at the University of Victoria. Please join the Sightline Institute’s Eric de Place and I for a discussion on the coal industry in the Pacific Northwest region, the proposed Raven Mine and ways you can get involved to stop coal expansion and speak out for the local and global environment.
Date: Tuesday, October 9th
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: University of Victoria, Social Science and Math Building A – Rm. 104
I hope to see you on the 9th!
Torrance Coste | Vancouver Island Campaigner