Port Metro Vancouver says additional coal trains coming through White Rock and South Surrey would be sprayed down with an anti-dust agent

Coal critics urge province to block new Surrey terminal

Climate change, marine impacts stressed by opponents as Dec. 17 public comment deadline nears

A coalition of coal export opponents on Thursday denounced an environmental review of a planned new terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks and urged the province to help dissuade Port Metro Vancouver from quickly giving the project the green light.

The deadline for comments on the environmental impact assessment is Dec. 17 and critics fear the port will make a decision soon after.

“Municipalities representing over a million people are either opposed to this or, at a minimum, want a comprehensive health assessment,” Communities and Coal campaigner Paula Williams said. “It would be irresponsible for the port to proceed and approve this proposal.”

Tyee Bridge of the group Fraser Riverkeeper said coal barges heading down the Fraser River and across Georgia Strait would pass through critical rearing habitat for endangered white sturgeon.

“This report doesn’t tell us how much coal is going to escape and it doesn’t contemplate any of the impacts on marine habitat,” Bridge said.

Other marine life, including shellfish and the oysters of Fanny Bay, could be threatened, he suggested.

Among the academics marshalled to the cause by environmental campaigners is SFU sustainable energy professor Mark Jaccard, who helped design B.C.’s climate change policy under Premier Gordon Campbell.

Jaccard said in a statement the EIA is “utterly inadequate” because it fails to consider climate change impacts, which Port Metro Vancouver deems beyond its jurisdiction.

“We should not be aiding and abetting the rapid expansion of havoc-creating carbon pollution here or abroad by increasing our production and shipping of coal,” he said.

Tim Takaro, another professor who stressed coal exports will contribute to runaway climate change, said new coal terminals are being blocked along the U.S. west coast.

Chief medical health officers from Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health have also called the environmental review inadequate, citing various flaws and insufficient consideration of potential health impacts from coal dust.

Port Metro Vancouver issued a statement saying proponent Fraser Surrey Docks has addressed the fugitive dust issue by altering the planned terminal and ensuring anti-dust treatment of train cars that pass through White Rock and South Surrey.

“Coal is a commodity that is already handled in the port and has been handled safely for decades,” it said, noting the additional coal to be shipped through the Surrey terminal equates to a 7.5 per cent increase in the port’s coal-handling capacity.

The environmental assessment found coal dust poses no adverse risk of health effects along the BNSF railway or near the terminal.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

All Safe Surrey Coalition council members must ‘step up’ over ‘bad taste’ tweets, rivals say

Slate’s posts on social media in ‘bad taste,’ councillor says

After 40 years on the job, White Rock’s fire chief retires

From flood to fire, Phil Lemire has been at the forefront whenever disaster struck

Surrey sports groups grapple with refunds, registration, restrictions and more

‘Our biggest problem is going to be retraining the public because they can’t be there’

Low-cost bicycle repair shop opens in Cloverdale

Cloverdale Community Cycles starts up in church parking lot

First degree murder charge laid in South Surrey shooting death

Wayne Duncan, 46, was killed on Sept. 6, 2019

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Most Read