The Dogwood Initiative's stickers are supposed to make loonies look like they've been polluted by oil. ((Lisa Johnson/CBC))

A B.C. environmental group says it will ramp up its drive to put oil-slick stickers on thousands of loonies, rather than accede to demands from the Royal Canadian Mint to stop the publicity campaign.

The plastic stickers fit on a loonie, making the emblematic coin look like the scene of an oil spill while highlighting the Dogwood Initiative's website, notankers.ca.

The mint, which issues the coins, has written to the group, warning members of the Dogwood Initiative that they could face fines and imprisonment if they continue the campaign.

The letter says the publicity campaign is a contravention of the Currency Act which states, "No person shall … melt down, break up, or use otherwise than as currency any coin…"

The mint gave the Dogwood Initiative five days to respond to its Feb. 5 letter.

Decals removable, group says

Charles Campbell, the Dogwood Initiative's communications director, said despite the mint's threats of legal action, or perhaps because of the publicity it's brought, the campaign is already out of the first print run of 200,000 stickers.

And after consulting its lawyer, the group decided to print more stickers for distribution through its website with the aim of having 500,000 in circulation next month, Campbell said.

"We have been very careful not to deface any coins," said Campbell in a statement issued by the group.

"The notanker decals can be removed by a flick of the finger and the loonies brought back to their former selves.

"The same can't be said of an oil spill on our coast. In a world facing huge risks from global warming, the risk of legal sanctions for blackening loonies with oil spill decals seems minor," he said.

The Dogwood Initiative is campaigning for a legislated ban on oil tanker traffic off the West Coast in an attempt to thwart Calgary-based Enbridge's Northern Gateway proposal to build a 1,200-kilometre pipeline linking northern Alberta and a tanker facility on the B.C. north coast to ship oil overseas.