CoalWatch Comox Valley Society
PO Box 157
Union Bay, BC V0R 3B0
May 17, 2011
The Honourable Terry Lake
Minister of Environment
Province of British Columbia
PO Box 9047
STN PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
Dear Honourable Minister:
I was forwarded the written transcripts of your responses to MLA Scott Fraser’s questions yesterday in the afternoon sitting of the Legislative Assembly. Specifically regarding the current environmental assessment of the proposed Raven Underground Coal Mine Project. Since CoalWatch Comox Valley was mentioned in your response as having been consulted as part of a CEAA/EAO workshop on March 13, 2011, I would like to clarify CoalWatch’s position on the comprehensive review environmental assessment currently being conducted.
On August 17, 2010 the Environmental Law Centre at UVIC , on our behalf, sent a written request to federal Minister of Environment Jim Prentice and provincial Minister of Environment Barry Penner, to refer the environmental assessment of the proposed Raven Underground Coal Mine Project to a joint federal/provincial independent expert Review Panel for full public hearings. Written responses from both Minister Prentice and Minister Penner rejected our request. On January 18, 2011 in a meeting with provincial Minister Murray Coell, Coalwatch reiterated our request for an independent review panel with public hearings. Those in attendance at that meeting included myself, Campbell Connor from CoalWatch, Roberta Stevenson representing the BC Shellfish Growers Association, Minister Coell and several of his staff members. A letter was sent to Minister Coell on January 19, 2010 asking for his written support for an independent review panel with public hearings. The written response from Minister Coell rejected our request and stated that he was satisfied with the comprehensive EA of the proposed Raven Project.
CoalWatch believes that an independent review panel would be more rigorous, more transparent, and be more likely to result in findings of environmental impacts. An independent review panel would also include PUBLIC HEARINGS rather public meetings which are currently scheduled under the comprehensive review. We believe that a review panel is clearly in the public interest based on compelling evidence of:
the potential significant adverse environmental effects of this project: and
the deep and widespread public concerns associated with this project.
CoalWatch, with the support of numerous local governments, community organizations, individuals, and environmental groups representing thousands of British Columbians, will continue to advocate for a more rigorous environmental assessment of the Raven Project. Any implication that by participating in workshops conducted by the CEAA/EAO, CoalWatch now endorses or supports the current comprehensive environmental assessment of the Raven Project would be at best, misleading. CoalWatch does not support the current comprehensive review EA of the Raven Project, and will continue to call for a more rigorous and transparent environmental assessment, the citizens of Vancouver Island and British Columbia deserve nothing less.
I would be glad to meet with you and your staff to discuss the issues around the Raven Coal Mine Project. Please contact me personally if you have questions.
President, CoalWatch Comox Valley Society
Sent via email and hard copy
Cc to Minister Don McRae and MLA Scott Fraser
CoalWatch Comox Valley Society