Let’s Halt the Expansion of Dirty Coal Exports!

Here is a new action alert from the Wilderness Committee:

Hi Eldy,

Did you know that the Greater Vancouver area is at risk of becoming the biggest coal exporter in North America?

Coal-fired power plants in the US have been shutting down due to environmental concerns. As a result, pressure from American coal producers who now want to sell to Asia have resulted in a slew of coal port expansion proposals on the Pacific coast.

Weaker environmental regulations in Canada mean that US producers are now eyeing BC ports as a gateway to Asian markets for their dirty coal. Right now the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (Port Metro Vancouver) is considering two proposals to increase coal exports. If approved, the proposed Fraser Surrey Docks Direct Coal Transfer Facility would handle up to 4 million metric tons (Mt) per year, with the potential to increase to 8 million Mt per year. Another proposal from North Vancouver’s Neptune Bulk Terminals hopes to expand coal-handling capacity by 6 Mt to allow for a total of 18 Mt of coal exports from the terminal each year. Combined, these expansions have the potential to export of the equivalent of over 154,000 railcars full of coal per year—enough to build a train stretching the distance from Vancouver to Mexico. And that’s not even counting the existing export capacity of the region’s ports!

Accelerating coal exports from BC would be a huge step in the wrong direction, and would have serious implications for local communities, our climate and for future generations. The mandate of the Port Authority is to “operate with broad public support in the best interests of Canadians”. But instead, they have been quietly moving to approve these projects with little public input. We say that expanding BC’s coal exports to facilitate the burning of fossil fuels around the world is not in anyone’s best interest.

That’s why we’re asking you to please WRITE NOW and send a letter to the Planning Department at Port Metro Vancouver, urging them NOT to approve coal expansions at the Fraser Surrey Docks and Neptune Terminals.

Yesterday, a wide array of prominent groups and individuals from both Canada and the United States signed onto an open letter to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, urging decision-makers to fully consider the serious global warming implications of the proposed increase in fossil fuel exports. How can Vancouver become the “Greenest City” in the world with such a huge amount of fossil fuel pollution being shipped through the region’s own ports?

Experts from all over the world have warned that not enough is being done to reduce pollution from burning fossil fuels, and that the window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic climate change is rapidly closing. Please help spread the word, and insist that the Port Authority do the right thing—for the health of our local communities, and for the global climate—by stopping the increase in coal exports from BC’s coast!


Joe Foy | National Campaign Director
Wilderness Committee


Thank you for supporting wilderness.

The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research and grassroots education. The Wilderness Committee works on the ground to achieve ecologically sustainable communities. We work only through lawful means.

This is serious stuff. Just because we in North America are moving away from burning coal does not mean it is okay to be used elsewhere.  Everything is interconnected on this Earth.  Discouraging the promotion of coal is the key to all of our futures…globally!  I will write!

In fact, the following quote is the letter that I sent along to the Planning Department at Port Metro Vancouver:

Lilian Chau, Senior Planner
Tim Blair, Planner
Planning and Development Department
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

CC: Port Cities Committee, Metro Vancouver

RE: Please say “No” to the Fraser Surrey Docks Direct Transfer Coal Facility and Neptune Terminal Coal Upgrades!

Just because we in North America are moving away from burning coal does not mean it is okay to be used elsewhere. Everything is interconnected on this Earth. Discouraging the promotion of coal is the key to all of our futures…globally!

Please consider the following points as they truly do reflect my concerns regarding this matter:

Port Metro Vancouver is already home to Canada’s largest coal export facility, and one of the biggest in North America. Roberts Bank Terminals in Delta, BC now has the capacity to export up to 33 million metric tonnes (Mt) of coal per year.

The proposed expansions at the Fraser Surrey Docks and Neptune Bulk Terminals, when combined, would bring the Port Authority’s coal export capacity up to a staggering 55 to 59 Mt per year, making it the largest coal exporter in North America.

When burned, this amount of coal would result in more than 100 Mt of greenhouse gas emissions per year. That’s a volume of global warming pollution much larger than all the emissions within BC each year, and more than that associated with oil exports from the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

While other resource projects are subjected to extensive reviews and public consultation processes, these proposals to expand coal exports have been relatively “under the radar”, with minimal media coverage or notification given to the public.

Coal export terminals like the one at Roberts Banks release hundreds of tonnes of hazardous and cancer-causing coal dust into the local environment every year.

The province of BC does not currently include coal exports in their greenhouse gas emissions totals. Even though the coal is not burned in BC, these exports facilitate the burning of fossil fuels and fuel the resulting emissions, and therefore should not be excluded from the province’s reporting on emissions.

Thank you for taking the time to consider these important concerns that I have regarding the expansion of dirty coal exports at Port Metro Vancouver.

Today’s “stone” is Day 338  write, write, write, maybe be heard




3 thoughts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: