Raven coal mine opponents a diverse group

Dear editor,
Re: Joe Paquet’s why I support Raven letter.

Dear editor,Re: Joe Paquet’s why I support Raven letter.This is written to correct his perception that those who oppose Raven Coal Mine are “rich retirees” and that strict environmental laws exist or will be created to protect the environment from coal mine acid drainage and poisonous emissions. First, the more than 5,000 people opposing Raven include members of the BC Shellfish Growers Association, BC Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee, Council of Canadians, David Suzuki Org., the K’ómoks Nation, teachers, local government leaders, retail store owners, artists, university students, doctors, biologists, loggers, working moms.We represent a good cross-section of any environmentally responsible B.C. community. Second, your faith that current environmental laws will prevent coal mine emissions and acid rock drainage from poisoning our environment and nearby communities is not supported by two recent reports.The B.C. Auditor General was “scathingly critical” of the BC Environmental Assessment Office for failing to do its job; and a U of V Environmental Law Centre report that documents the inadequate enforcement of environmental laws and high cost to taxpayers to repair environmental harm.The U of V report concludes that these two concerns “raise questions about governments’ current ability and commitment to safeguard the local ecosystem from a new coal mine in the Comox Valley.The report ends with a question posed at a public forum:“Will mining be favoured over the shellfish industry, tourism, real estate, farming, the environment?” Given governments’ support of expanding coal mine operations in B.C., Raven will be approved unless taxpayers who clearly care about the environment voice grave opposition.You can write to Christy Clark and Stephen Harper and simply state “I join more than 5,000 people in opposing Raven coal mine in the Comox Valley based on  the Auditor General’s Report that currently there are inadequate environmental controls or enforcement to prevent the mine from poisoning air, waterways, wildlife, and communities and that ultimately we taxpayers will pay for corporate profits.” Sharon Small,Denman Island

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