Occupy the Sabine Channel

October 4th at 2pm: Boaters to occupy the Sabine Channel for a coal-free Salish Sea

People and boats will gather in the Sabine Channel between Texada Island and Lasqueti Island, and on the very south end of Lasqueti Island. They are blocking the route for coal tankers to Texada Island.

We are able to transport and accommodate media or other interested parties. For more information please contact: moc.kooltuo|enibasehtypucco#moc.kooltuo|enibasehtypucco

Against public, municipal, and health authorities' requests, the BC Provincial government and the Port Metro Vancouver have approved permits for the shipment of US thermal coal through Greater Vancouver areas, the Fraser River, and out Georgia Straight up the narrow Sabine Channel to be stored on Texada Island.

In response to this announcement, and in solidarity with people and communities all over the world standing up against climate change, people from Lasqueti Island and surrounding areas are planning to Occupy the Sabine Channel on Saturday, October 4, 2014.

Disallowed by US ports to date, this polluting and dirty coal will come by train across the border to the Fraser/Surrey docks (up to 2 trains per day, each train up to 1km long.) From there, the coal would be reloaded onto open topped barges & transported down the globally significant Important Bird Area and the largest fish spawning river for BC’s wild salmon, the Fraser River, and up the very narrow Sabine Channel between Lasqueti and Texada Islands.

The open-topped barges would then be off-loaded by conveyor at the Lafarge limestone quarry site on Texada Island, and then re-loaded onto 1000’ long huge bulk cargo freighters which will travel past Parksville, Qualicum Beach, and many Gulf Islands to the Pacific and its final destination in Asia.

The plan is to increase the coal currently transported there from Campbell River ten times, and to start exporting 4 million tonnes of THERMAL coal per year and increase it to 8 million tonnes in the future.

The shipping and handling of so much thermal coal will release coal dust into the air and the marine environment. The Australian government has recently released a report stating that air pollution has increased 150 – 200 percent in the last decade, with coal mining identified as the biggest source of harmful respiratory particles in the air, while stockpiles of uncovered coal waiting for export blows freely over populated areas. Yet in BC no Environmental or Health Impact Assessments were required for these permits, despite formal requests from the public and health authorities.

The states of Oregon and Washington take the threats of thermal coal export seriously - Oregon denied a proposed export facility, while two proposals in Washington are undergoing extensive public and environmental reviews amid strong elected official and citizen opposition.

Now the Fraser Surrey Docks proposal is approved, coal shipment through Texada Island would increase ten fold, from less than 400,000 tonnes per year currently to 4 million tonnes per year — and possibly to 8 million tonnes per year in the future. This massive expansion would occur without any environmental assessment of the risks to the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) from the shipping of millions of tonnes of coal in open barges or the risks to the marine environment adjacent to the TQL site on Texada

In BC, formal requests for Health and Environmental Assessments due to the threat of coal dust and its known human health impacts has come from:

  • BC Lung Association
  • Public Health Association of BC
  • BC Nurses Union
  • Canadian Physicians for Environment
  • BC Teacher’s Federation
  • MLAs Gordon Hogg, Marvin Hunt and Scott Hamilton representing Surrey-White Rock, Surrey-Panorama, and Delta North respectively (and a substantial section of the coal corridor including 9 municipalities (Surrey, White Rock, Delta, New Westminster, Langley, Richmond, Burnaby, Vancouver, & Powell River)
  • MP’s Jasbir Sandhu and Jinny Sims
  • Sunshine Coast Regional District
  • Chief Medical Health Officers Dr. Patricia Daly and Dr. Paul Van Buynder
  • Thousands of residents including over 3400 letters to the Port and nearly 3000 to the Province,
  • Hundreds of local businesses
  • Six school districts (Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Surrey, New Westminster, & Burnaby)

Only 6 of the public respondents to the Port’s call for public feedback were in support of the project.


We are able to transport and accommodate media or other interested parties. For more information please contact: moc.kooltuo|enibasehtypucco#moc.kooltuo|enibasehtypucco

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