The recent decision by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Climate Change to approve the operation of the Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton until the end of the decade is another glaring example of the government’s broken promises on climate action and sustainable economic development. The Atlantic Chapter of Sierra Club Canada is appealing the Industrial Approval to the department’s minister, Tim Halman.
“Minister Halman has finally acknowledged the Donkin coal mine’s huge carbon footprint, referring to it as the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in Nova Scotia. So why is his government allowing the mine to continue operating until 2030? Where’s the “sustainable prosperity” that Premier Houston promised the people of this province?” asks Tynette Deveaux, with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Atlantic campaign.
It’s a sentiment echoed by the Nova Scotia chapter of Canadian Physicians for the Environment (CAPE-NS), which submitted a letter to Minister Halman, in support of Sierra Club’s appeal. CAPE-NS represents approximately 70 health care professionals in the province. The group is calling on the government to implement progressive policies to support jobs in Cape Breton, saying, “There are many ways that the economy of Cape Breton can be supported with investments in green energy and other government initiatives that would cause less harm to the environment and population health.”
Sierra Club’s appeal covers a host of environmental, health, and safety concerns related to the operation of the Donkin coal mine: fugitive methane emissions, destruction of wetlands and contamination of nearby watersheds, industrial noise pollution, airborne contaminants, including PM2.5 and diesel exhaust, and the threat to public safety from trucking coal to the Port of Sydney on public roads.
“The coal trucks are on the roads from early in the morning until 2 or 3 AM,” says local resident LeRoy Peach, who has been calling on elected officials to deal with the trucking problem for the past five years. “There are hundreds of truckloads of coal barreling through our communities every week. It’s dangerous. We never agreed to this.”
Local residents are holding a rally at noon in Reserve Mines, located between Glace Bay and Sydney, on Friday, February 17, to protest the Donkin mine’s use of public roads to truck coal 22 hours a day.
Beyond Coal Atlantic Campaign Coordinator
Sierra Club Canada/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Morien Resident