Increasing coal exports through Vancouver

Earlier this week Donald Gordon asked me if the Islands Trust was aware that Port Metro Vancouver is considering two applications to hugely increase the export of coal through its facilities. One is from Fraser Surrey Docks, who propose to unload 4 (later increasing to 8) million tonnes per year of coal from Wyoming into barges for shipment to the north/west end of Texada Island. There it would be unloaded and stored until loaded onto ocean-going ships for export to Asia, to be burned to make electricity. The other is from Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver, to increase its metalurgical (for making steel) coal-exporting capacity from 12 to 18 million tonnes per year. These would make Port Metro Vancouver the largest coal exporting port in North America.

Coal is the most polluting of our fossil fuels. Mining it is devastating to the environment for decades or centuries. Coal dust is highly toxic and nearly impossible to contain. One train car "loses" between 500 and 2,000 pounds of dust on each trip. Burning coal will hugely increase and exacerbate the climate change that we are already experiencing.

Voters Taking Action of Climate Change has brought this issue to the public. They ask people to request Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) to hold public consultations before they approve these projects. They have also issued a public letter signed by many respected individuals and organizations.  You can email PMV, and read the open letter, through their web site:

Further information:

I have asked The Islands Trust Council to add this issue to their agenda next week.

A final note from Donald:

There are plenty of key points but two of the most important 1) that we only discovered  this last week, and it is already very late in the approval process.  We have been working very hard to have it picked up by the media so that some light is shone on this totally closed-door process 2)  We only have a hope of delaying the approval by forcing a public process, and this can only be done if people take action now.  If we can delay the approval by showing public concern that will give us time to organize a determined public response.

Easiest way to take action is through

coal_dust_at_roberts_bank.jpg41.32 KB


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