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Metro Vancouver opposes coal port

Coal trains not welcome
By: 
Anna Roik

June 28, 2013

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On Friday June 14, Metro Vancouver held a version of a public hearing where members of the local community were invited to speak on the proposed thermal coal terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks.The proposed new coal terminal could ship upwards of 4 million metric tonnes of coal yearly to Asia. In the end, Metro Vancouver voted 21 to 4 to oppose coal shipments at Fraser Surrey Docks and within the Fraser River estuary, the existing Roberts Bank coal port aside.
 
In its rejection Metro Vancouver cited information it wished to see from Fraser Surrey Docks and Port Metro Vancouver, namely a health impact assessment. Supporters of the expansion were those who stood to earn money, or represented the potential 50 workers who would fill the jobs at the terminal. Opponents of the expansion cited both local issues such as fugitive coal dust and increased rail traffic, and global issues of climate change. Many said that the Lower Mainland should draw a line in the sand and take a stand against the use of fossil fuels.
 
With reports out of China this week that the government has ordered firms in many of the heaviest polluting industries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2017, it is possible that thermal coal exports out of North America may drop sooner than expected. Two coal-fired power plants in China’s southern provinces have already been shelved, and when new projects are announced they have been met by large groups protesting against pollution. Instead, we need green jobs to avert climate catastrophe.

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