For Immediate Release
28 September 2014
Faith Leaders continue to press Premier for moral leadership on issue of US thermal coal exports
— Christian, Jewish, Unitarian leaders to Premier: climate crisis demands urgent attention, please rescind permits for shipment of US thermal coal via Texada Island coal port.
Vancouver — Yesterday BC faith leaders sent an open letter – Moving Beyond Coal – Part II to BC Premier Christy Clark calling on her to reconsider approval of US thermal coal exports via Texada Island and to work to phase out all US coal exports from BC.
The letter is signed by clergy and faith-leaders from 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 approval in order to send a powerful message on BC’s commitment to climate action. A recently released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has delivered a stark message: the vast majority of coal must remain in the ground if we are to have any chance of avoiding dangerous and irreversible climate change. Time is running out to make these choices.
On August 21 of this year the federally appointed Vancouver Fraser Port Authority approved Fraser Surrey Dock’s application to export four million tonnes of US thermal coal per year. That coal will be shipped by open barge down the Fraser River to Texada Island, where it will stockpiled and then loaded into ocean going vessels for shipment to Asia. The Texada coal terminal is under provincial jurisdiction. Earlier this year the province approved the application to expand the Texada facility in order to accommodate this US coal.
Faith leaders point out that the export and burning of this coal in Asia will contribute to global climate destabilization. They urge Premier Clark to look at the wider picture and show leadership to the world in stopping this Texada Island expansion.
“The fact that such a cross section of the BC population is showing discomfort with a proposal to export US thermal coal, coal that even US Northwest States are refusing, should encourage the BC government to reject this proposal. Thermal coal contributes massively to climate change. It also creates significant pollution when mined, transported and burned,” said Campbell Connor, Minister of the United Church of Canada and member of the Technical Committee for CoalWatch Comox Valley. “We would ask all decision makers to reject this proposal and support the wellbeing of both the citizenry and the environment.”
“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 Reverend Dorothy Jeffery, a member of the Sustainability Circle at Canadian Memorial United Church and a letter organizer. “However, when asked to take a stand on current plans to export US thermal coal from 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.”
On Friday the 23rd of May 2014 the British Columbia Conference of the United Church of Canada meeting in Nanaimo passed the following motion with an overwhelming majority:
“Be it resolved that the British Columbia Conference of the United Church of Canada requests that the Port of Vancouver rejects the application from Fraser Surrey Docks to establish a Thermal Coal Transfer Facility on its site.”
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For further information on the motion and the United Church’s position on thermal coal exports:
Clergy available for comment 29 September 2014:
The Reverend Dr. Dorothy Jeffery, Minister, United Church of Canada,
The Reverend Campbell Connor, retired United Church Minister, Comox, B.C.,