Updates on the Texada Coal Export ChallengeOctober 27 2014
1. Federal Environment Minister asked to investigate coal contamination at Texada facility
Earlier this year VTACC revealed extensive coal contamination of the foreshore near the Texada Island facility, in violation of its 1990 permit. Samples collected in May on Texada were sent this month for independent review. A team of geologists lead by Professor Frank Brown at the University of Utah have confirmed that the samples are coal. VTACC has asked Minister Aglukkaq to investigate if the Lafarge facility is in violation of S.36 of the Fisheries Act. The Minister indicates enforcement staff have been notified. Photos of coal contamination on Texada available here.
2. Barging coal on the Strait of Georgia: no plan to assess impacts, no plans for monitoring
A review of FSD project documents shows the proponent does not plan to assess the potential risk of coal dust losses from open barges travelling the windy Strait of Georgia. Further, FSD offers no clear strategy for dealing with high winds during the 140 km, 12 to 14 hour trip to Texada Island. More troubling, a prior commitment to monitor barge coal dust losses for one year is now missing from project approval documents. In other words, no one is monitoring potential impacts from this project on the Strait of Georgia.
3. Other calls for reconsideration of the Texada coal port proposal
At its recent annual convention, the UBCM passed a resolution (B92, pg 5) calling for full environmental and health impact assessment of plans to ship coal in BC's coastal waters.
If the court returns the Texada permit application to government for further review, VTACC will work to ensure that all the potential impacts from this project are considered. SCRD, Islands Trust, Sechelt First Nation and others have also expressed concerns about the risks that this proposal could bring to the fragile Georgia Basin environment.
Faith leaders from across BC have continued to call on the Premier to rescind the Texada Island coal export expansion permit. Recently, residents of Lasqueti Island held Occupy the Sabine, a protest to show their concern over plans to move coal barges up the narrow Sabine channel between Lasqueti and Texada Islands