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CoalWatch to Raven coal proponents: 'Time to fish or cut bait'

Candace Wu, Parksville Qualicum Beach News, Aug 13, 2015

Compliance Coal Corporation has less than three weeks to save its bid to build a coal mine near Buckley Bay, less than 50 kilometres from Qualicum Beach.

The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is giving Compliance until August 28 to submit more information about its proposed Raven coal mine operation.

The added pressure from the EAO comes two months after CoalWatch Comox Valley Society — a group critical of the coal mine proposal — asked the EAO to terminate the project.

CoalWatch president John Snyder argued "Under the Environmental Assessment Act and the Prescribed Time Limits Regulation, the executive director under the act may suspend or terminate an EA (environmental assessment) if the information required by the Application Information Requirement Guidelines (AIR) has not been provided within three years."

According to a letter addressed to Compliance president Steve Ellis from the EAO obtained by The NEWS, the AIR for Compliance’s project was issued June 7, 2012 — more than three years ago.

“In order for EAO to be able to assess the appropriate next steps for the EA (environmental assessment), we require a better understanding of Compliance’s plans regarding Raven, including Compliance’s anticipated timing… We require this information by August 28, 2015,” reads the letter signed by EOA executive project director Shelley Murphy dated Aug. 5.

Ellis confirmed Tuesday afternoon“there will be some information provided by Aug. 28.”

But Snyder said it’s too late.

“There’s a prescribed three-year time line they (Compliance) have been afforded and, in my opinion, they’ve been given due process,” he said. “It’s time for them to fish or cut bait.”

According to Compliance’s website (www.theravenproject.ca), the Raven project proposes to remove metallurgical or steel-making coal from a site west of Buckley Bay ferry terminal.

The company claims the proposed Raven project would contribute approximately $1.1 billion to the economies of the surrounding regions. Compliance is looking at creating 200 construction jobs and 350 “well-paying, full-time mine, port and transportation jobs” if the project is approved.

In 2013 the EAO rejected the company’s initial application for the proposed coal mine saying “the application does not contain the required information and (the EAO) has decided not to accept the application for detailed review.”

On Tuesday, Ellis said the company intends on moving the proposal forward, promising information will be submitted to the EAO by the end of the summer.

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