Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

An objection to new coal mine

Smithers group thinks Telkwa Coal project should be stopped

Dear Editor,

Smithers Climate Action is a group of citizens with a mission to “build local grassroots actions that reduce greenhouse gases, increase community resilience, and benefit people, nature, and biodiversity. Act locally in alliance with other groups around the world.”

Our organization does not support developing the Telkwa Coal mine.

The extraction and burning of coal for heating and steelmaking has long been identified as a significant source of greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to climate change. The coal industry has such a large global climate change impact that the development of new coal mines is being explicitly discouraged by the International Energy Agency. In their May 2021 report, the IEA concluded that ”…no new coal mines or mine extensions are needed in the [Net Zero Emissions future].”

Our community may experience the impact of the global response to climate change indirectly. As banks, insurance companies and investors transition away from coal, it creates long-term risks for coal mining companies. Therefore, our resilience as a community depends on making sound decisions with a full understanding of these indirect climate change impacts.

Climate pollution is created by the extraction and burning of all types of coal. Metallurgical coal, which is what Telkwa Coal says it will sell, is used to make steel. Yet because the steelmaking industry is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions it is rapidly transitioning away from coal. In fact, metallurgical coal use has been declining in North America for some time. For example, only 1/3 of steel is still produced using coal in the US. Globally, large steelmakers are investing in hydrogen-fuelled manufacturing to produce “fossil-free” steel.

Telkwa Coal is planning to sell a product that is being phased out. As a community, we would be wise to ask ourselves if developing an open-pit coal mine with a doubtful future is an acceptable risk to take on for the rivers, the surrounding environment, and the community.

Smithers Climate Action supports the global transition to clean energy jobs and a clean energy future. Developing a new coal mine, Telkwa Coal is not part of that future.

Once the mine application is submitted in the coming months there will be a short window for public review and we encourage our fellow citizens to share their concerns or objections.

Smithers Climate Action