Re: editor John Harding’s recent editorial regarding the proposed Raven coal mine.
What struck me was Harding’s suggestion that the debate has been dominated by posturing and conjecture equally on both sides of the debate, and that it has been “no coal mines ever” vs. “we need the jobs, period.”
It’s just not true. Opposition to this proposal has been dominated by presenting challenging facts to the pervasive assumptions carried by many, including in your editorial. Clearly, you have not spent a great deal of time examining what the opposition has been saying.
From the beginning, those opposed to the Raven mine have been pointing out the fact that the shared aquifers of the mine and our communities have not been mapped. For many, this is our drinking water. It is neither posturing nor conjecture. The Raven mine poses a very real threat to this precious fresh water resource. I’m sure if this proposed mine was planned for the area you get your drinking water from, you might see things somewhat differently.
And for all the promise of “hundreds of well paying jobs.” We still have no idea who will fill the skilled mining jobs. The current B.C. Government’s own resource sector audit has reported that B.C. has a severe shortage in skilled coal miners, and that immigrant labour will be needed to fill these jobs for some years to come.
Adding to this sorry scenario, is the fact that the Raven coal mine’s owners will pay no mineral royalties to the provincial treasury, as they own the land and the mineral rights beneath it, fee simple.
In attempting to be fair and balanced, you have negated the overwhelming legitimacy of the fact based opposition to the Raven Mine proposal.