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CoalWatch to EAO - restates request to terminate the Raven EA

Letter to EAO, CoalWatch Comox Valley Society, September 7 2015

CoalWatch Comox Valley Society
PO Box 157
Union Bay, BC V0R 3B0

Attn: Shelley Murphy
Executive Project Director
Environmental Assessment Office
Victoria, BC V8W 9V1

September 7, 2015

RE: Restatement of CoalWatch’s request to terminate the Environmental Assessment of the proposed Raven Coal Mine Project

Dear Ms. Murphy

After reading the August 25, 2015 letter from Compliance Coal Corporation (Compliance) President Mr. Stephen Ellis to you regarding the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) request for more information on their plans for the proposed Raven Coal Mine Project, I thought it was necessary to write to you and restate CoalWatch’s request to terminate the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Raven Coal Mine Project.

To be honest, I was expecting a more conciliatory tone in the Compliance response, but instead found the letter to be adversarial in nature which is a disappointment.

Now on the heels of the August 25th letter, Compliance has posted notice that Mr. Ellis has resigned with no mention of an apparent successor. This would seem to suggest disarray within the corporate structure of Compliance.

Besides the corporate disarray, I’m concerned about Compliance’s current financial situation. The most recent Compliance Interim Financial Statement (ending June 30, 2015) indicated the Company has an accumulated deficit of $19,607,000 and as of June 30, 2015, the Company had a negative working capital of $1,213,000.

The report also states the Company is working with its partner as well as exploring other financial options to continue to fund development and environmental permitting. These conditions indicate the existence of material uncertainties that may cast significant doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

As you may recall, the two joint venture partners (LG and Itochu) that Compliance partnered with in the Comox Joint Venture, have now withdrawn from the Comox Joint Venture.

In my opinion, the suggestion of corporate disarray, recent joint venture partner withdrawals, and an uncertain financial situation, casts considerable doubt on Compliance’s ability to provide the required information and move the EA process forward in a timely fashion.

I’d next like to draw your attention to the Compliance website. I noticed that in the Evaluation Notes for Compliance Coal Corporation’s Response to EAO’s May 16, 2013 Direction on Additional Public Consultation ( DRAFT dated March 2, 2015 ) the following EAO comment: “ Proponent has committed, but not demonstrated, that they are updating the website.”

I took the time this morning to review the Compliance website. Despite the fact that LG has withdrawn from the Comox Joint Venture, LG is still listed as a joint venture partner on the website. Furthermore, a review of the Raven Project portion of the Compliance website indicates it hasn’t been updated since May of 2013.

I would argue that the inability or unwillingness of Compliance to simply update their website in an accurate and timely manner, also casts serious doubts on their ability to move the EA process further along, not to mention their ability to design, build and operate the Raven Coal Mine Project in a responsible way.

I’ve heard a lot about the “need for certainty”, especially as it pertains to the proponents in the EA process. I would suggest there’s also a “need for certainty” when it comes to public expectations in the EA process.

The public expects that the proponent should provide the required information in its Application within the 3 year timeline. Except under extraordinary circumstances, if that required information isn’t provided, the public expects there will be consequences.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Compliance continues to cling to their assertion that they have provided the required information in their Applications. Their August 25th letter essentially throws down the gauntlet and attacks the integrity of this particular EA process.

With the 3-year timeline expiring on June 7, 2015, Compliance has now been afforded another 3 month grace period to provide the required information. Compliance has also stated they see little merit in sitting down with the EAO to review EA options for the Raven Project.

As I stated in our June 4, 2015 letter and restate now, it is CoalWatch’s view that Compliance has been afforded due process during the EA process and Compliance has also been granted a reasonable amount of time to submit the required information in an Application for the proposed Raven Coal Mine Project. We can’t find any reasonable justification for extending the Raven Coal Mine EA any further.

Therefore, on behalf of CoalWatch and its board of directors, I respectfully request that the Executive Director or Minister terminate the environmental assessment of the proposed Raven Coal Mine Project.

Thanking you in advance for your consideration of my request.


John Snyder
President, CoalWatch Comox Valley Society

Sent via email

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