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BC Conference of the United Church asks Port Metro Vancouver to reject US coal exports

News Release, BC Conference of the United Church of Canada, June 2 2014

British Columbia Conference of the United Church of Canada asks Port Metro Vancouver to reject US coal exports

--- province wide motion calls on Port Authority to reject application from Fraser Surrey Docks to export US thermal coal

[Burnaby] -- On Friday the 23rd of May 2014 the British Columbia Conference of the United Church of Canada meeting in Nanaimo passed the following motion with an overwhelming majority:

"Be it resolved that the British Columbia Conference of the United Church of Canada requests that the Port of Vancouver rejects the application from Fraser Surrey Docks to Establish a Thermal Coal Transfer Facility on its site."

The motion was presented by the Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery, Faithful Public Witness Cluster and was passed with overwhelming support after vigorous debate, including a discussion of the importance of BC's metallurgical coal industry to local communities.

The BC Conference represents over 190 United Church congregations in communities throughout BC ranging from northern BC to Texada Island to BC coal mining communities in the East Kootenays and First Nations territories. These congregations comprise a significant segment of the population of BC and include people of all political stripes. The United Church of Canada is the largest Protestant denomination in Canada and has throughout its history been committed to social justice and in recent years extended this to Eco-justice.

"The fact that such a cross section of the BC population is showing discomfort with a proposal to export US thermal coal, coal that even US Northwest States are refusing, should encourage the Port Authority to reject this proposal. Thermal coal is responsible for contributing massively to climate change. It also creates significant pollution when mined, transported and burned. We would ask all decision makers to reject this proposal and support the wellbeing of both the citizenry and the environment”, a comment made by Campbell Connor, Minister of the United Church of Canada and Chair of the Technical Committee for CoalWatch Comox Valley.

The Vancouver Port Authority is expected to make a decision on the Fraser Surrey Docks project this summer, and is holding its AGM tomorrow, June 3rd at 3 pm.

Last week, 51 leaders from Christian, Jewish and Sikh faith communities sent an open letter to the Premier of BC Christy Clark, Mary Polak, Minister of the Environment, Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Terry Lake, Minister of Health asking that they reject the Texada Island coal export project. Four to 8 million tonnes/year of US thermal coal delivered to Fraser Surrey Docks would be shipped in open barges nearly as long as a football field to Texada for transshipment to Asian power plants.

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For further information on the motion and the United Church's position on thermal coal exports:

Clergy available for comment June 2, 2014:

The Reverend Dr. Dorothy Jeffery, Minister, St. Stephen’s United Church, East Delta, 604-613-4979 (cell) dajeffer@telus.net

The Reverend Campbell Connor, Minister within the United Church of Canada, Comox, B.C., 250-941-6665, mcconnor1931@gmail.com

Other contacts:

Rosemary Cornell, Ph.D., SFU Biochemist; Member, Sustainability Circle at Canadian Memorial United Church, Vancouver, 778-782-3709 snrr@telus.net

Click here to download the complete news release

 

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