The Rev. Dr. Vikki Marie has joined many other local faith leaders in signing a letter to the BC provincial government asking them to reconsider approval of permits that will allow the expansion of exporting thermal coal through Surrey and Texada Island.
Here’s a link to a story about the issue on The Tyee – Religious Leaders ‘Faith Off’ Against Texada Coal Terminal
Here is the text of the letter – go here to see all the signatories.
Moving Beyond Coal
An open letter from leaders of Faith-based groups in British Columbia
The Honorable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia
The Honorable Mary Polak, Minister of the Environment,
The Honorable Todd Stone, Minister ofTransportation and Infrastructure
The Honorable Terry Lake, Minister of Health
Premier and Honorable Ministers,
We write as leaders of Christian, Jewish, Unitarian, Quaker, and Sikh traditions in British Columbia. We are concerned about the moral and environmental issues regarding the proposal to build a new coal transfer facility at Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD) that would expedite the shipment of up to 8 million tons of U.S. thermal coal through Surrey, the Fraser River, and Salish Sea to Texada Island. We are asking you to reconsider the recently approved permit for the augmentation of the Texada Island port facility that would enable the increased coal export, and to phase out all U.S. thermal coal exports
from BC ports.
The end use of this coal is for electric power generation, primarily in China. The practice of burning coal is the source of most of the horrific air pollution problems in that country. Contributing to the increase in coal-related disability among the Chinese weighs heavily on our conscience. Coal is also the fossil fuel most directly linked to the rising CO2 emissions in China of the last 20 years.¹ Our province has shown strong leadership in the past on commitments to reduce GHG emissions² and our municipalities have robust plans to reduce carbon output. The traffic in coal is not compatible with those plans.
In our weekly sermons we encourage our congregations to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. Many of them are walking the talk, reducing their carbon footprint in their daily choices of what they buy and how they travel. Now our congregations are asking us to act as emissaries of their message to you, to embrace a shift in the way to do business. Therefore we will not stand idly by when we see local actions that will contribute to climate destabilization. We state emphatically that making money at the expense of the health and prosperity of the planet is wrong.
Our traditions teach us that human and non-human life is sacred and inter-connected. Our compassion compels us to act to prevent the suffering of human and non-human life on this miraculous planet. Although the amount of coal proposed for traffic through the FSD is a small fraction of the global coal use, this is the coal that you, the representatives of the BC electorate, can control. Approval of these permits means that you are complicit with a continued dependence on a dangerous fuel that is a relic of a time that is no more. Denying the permits would send a powerful message that BC is committed to being part of the solution to the climate crisis.
We ask you to consider both current and future generations of life on this planet as you make these decisions.
¹CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion – Highlights 2013, International Energy Agency
²Province of British Columbia, Climate Action Plan, 2008