Locals join coal dust-up with Victoria

Peter Nix sprinkles coal dust at the steps of the Legislature Tuesday. - Tom Fletcher
Peter Nix sprinkles coal dust at the steps of the Legislature Tuesday.
— image credit: Tom Fletcher

Peter Nix poured a bag of coal onto a blanket at the B.C. legislature Tuesday to send a message about coal exports from B.C.

The Cowichan Carbon Buster was among crowd of protestors in Victoria to point out the hypocrisy of the government promoting B.C.’s modest carbon tax on fossil fuels while promoting the export of 35 million tonnes of coal in 2010.

With coal exports booming and more mines opening in northeastern B.C., federal and provincial officials are looking for ways to fast-track an expansion of Prince Rupert port facilities to keep up.

According a press release from Cowichan Bay’s Jane Kilthei, the grassroots group calling itself British Columbians for Climate Action wants Victoria to prohibit all new coal mines immediately and to end all mining and export of coal from the province by 2015.

“Coal is the biggest source of heat-trapping, global warming pollution,” said Cliff Stainsby, a member from Cobble Hill. “To have any hope of avoiding runaway climate change, coal needs to stay in the ground. It’s that simple.”

“If coal so dangerous that we’ve banned its use here in B.C., what are we doing exporting it around the world?” Kilthei said. “Victoria says that emissions from exported coal are someone else’s problem, but climate change doesn’t respect national borders. Our government is ignoring the serious risks of climate change by promoting B.C. coal exports to the rest of the world, and they are putting our children and the planet in danger.”

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