Faith Leaders Call On Premier, Ministers To Say No To US Thermal Coal Exports

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Sikh, Jewish, Christian leaders from Texada Island to Langley ask Clark to reconsider Texada-Fraser Surrey Docks coal port approval

VANCOUVER – Fifty one BC faith leaders have sent an open letter to BC Premier Christy Clark calling on her to reconsider approval of US thermal coal exports via Fraser Surrey Docks and Texada Island and to work to phase out all US coal exports from BC.

The letter is signed by clergy and faith-leaders from Sikh, Jewish, Unitarian, Quaker, Roman Catholic, Anglican, United Church of Canada, Presbyterian, and Evangelical Lutheran communities, including ones on the Sunshine Coast, Texada Island, Delta, New Westminster and Surrey.

The letter states that the signatories cannot stand idly by in the face of local actions that will contribute to climate destabilization, and urges the Premier to reconsider the Texada Island coal export permit in order to send a powerful message on BC’s commitment to climate action.

“In May of 2012 Premier Clark stated that responsibility for climate change does not stop at BC’s borders.  She also claimed that BC LNG exports would be good for the world and good for the climate because they would allow other countries to wean themselves off of dirty sources of energy like thermal coal,” said Rosemary Cornell, a member of the Sustainability Circle at Canadian Memorial United Church and letter organizer.  “However, when asked to take a stand on current plans to export US thermal coal from Fraser Surrey Docks and Texada Island to be burned in Asian power plants, the Premier has remained silent.  The letter sent yesterday by faith leaders encourages her to consider the moral implications of promoting export of a fuel that is contributing to horrific air pollution in China and rising CO2 emissions worldwide.”

Recently, the province quietly approved coal export expansion on Texada Island to allow the transshipment of coal from Fraser Surrey Docks if the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority approves that company’s proposal to export 4 to 8 million tonnes of US thermal coal each year.  If this proposal goes ahead, the volume of coal shipped through the Texada Island terminal will increase 10 to 20 times over current levels.  Local residents have pointed out that current coal exports from Texada are already resulting in arsenic-laden coal contamination on nearby beaches.