Province using tax dollars to subsidize coal mine

NIC program announcement is first indication of what is to come.

Dear editor,

So it begins.

The announcement that NIC will receive $323,028 for an underground mining program is the first indication that the provincial government is not only supporting, but is prepared to use my tax dollars to subsidize the proposed Raven coal mine.

Could the provincial government not fund a program for shellfish aquaculture, or coastal community development or, for that matter, just about anything else?

I couldn’t be more opposed to the proposed underground Raven mine, and to the Bear and Anderson strip mines at that will almost inevitably follow if the processing infrastructure is established at Raven.

And I am livid that the Province thinks that it is all right to use my tax dollars to underwrite and promote this industry. How else will we be required to contribute?

Tax forgiveness (be assured that the company will pay as little tax as is possible)?

Road improvements and maintenance? Overseas trade missions? Ineffective environmental assessment and monitoring? Mine site reclamation? Loss of jobs in other sectors? Loss of property values?

Not to mention the loss of streams, air quality and habitat and the creatures that are dependent on them.  And these are just the things that are relatively simple to quantify.

We have learned that coal-producing states in the eastern U.S. actually subsidize the coal industry, which raises a question: Is this government dangerously naïve? Does Don McRae actually think that the industry in general and Compliance Coal in particular, will actually leave a significant proportion of the wealth that they might produce anywhere near the Comox Valley?

And a word about that training. The underground jobs that Compliance Coal has said they need are roof bolting and shuttle car operation, which are among the most dangerous occupations on the continent because of injuries, deaths and rising rates of miners’ lung disease.

I don’t see how NIC, in conscience, can agree to take on the responsibility of preparing students to work in this industry.

Alice de Wolff,

Union Bay