Coal port in Surrey must be opposed

A coal port along the Fraser River will add to carbon emissions, as the coal is destined for Chinese power plants.

Editor: Every living being on this planet, and not just the residents of New Westminster, Surrey, Delta and White Rock, should take heed of this new Fraser Surrey dock site for coal. This low grade coal originates in the U.S., the world’s biggest producer of coal, but strong opposition from Washington and Oregon to build a coal port in those states has shifted their attention to B.C., because regulations and environmental concerns here are more lax.

Trainloads of coal from the U.S. will pass through White Rock and Delta to the proposed new docks in Surrey. It will in turn be barged up to Texada Island to a deep-sea port there, for export to China, the world’s biggest consumer of coal.

The fossil fuels wasted to transport this stuff is reason enough to call a halt to this proposal. The Port Metro Vancouver (essentially the federal government) proposal talks about “air quality and an environmental review component,” but if this were a serious scientific study which includes climate change and environmental damage and not just safety concerns around the handling of coal and flying coal dust, the idea would get a resounding thumbs down.

This proposal is backed solely by our federal government’ greed for profit with local and global environmental concerns coming last. This is from a country, and a province that calls itself a leader in green actions.

Coal is responsible for about one-third of world’s greenhouse gas releases so we clearly know that it is not an environmentally friendly product.

The federal government (through Port Metro Vancouver) has carte blanche to do what it likes and will simply pay lip service to any protest or dissent. Our local politicians are against this proposal, but rather than coming out strongly against this project, they only call for due process and public consultation or information meetings, as if those do anything more than give the proponents of these plans a chance to say “well, we consulted the public” before ignoring them and going ahead anyway.

We look with disdain on China, which opens up a new coal-fired plant every day. However, are we not the ones feeding their filthy habit, and in so doing make a mockery of our green standing.

This hypocrisy makes us just as responsible as if we were burning the coal ourselves. Their fouled air is also our fouled air. Around the planet we all breathe the same stuff. Cut off the supply of cheap coal to China and they will be forced to consider more environmentally friendly ways of producing energy. Encouraging them only seals our fate.

Our planet is rapidly turning into a place unfit for humans. Our elected officials always tell us we must make decisions with our future generations in mind. You can make all the money in the world, but that will not restore a planet that our kids and their kids can live on.

There is one-sure fired way to make our politicians listen seriously to your concerns. Write, email or phone your municipal mayor and council, provincial politicians and especially our federal leaders.

Once they understand the public are outraged at their ambiguity towards the environment and this proposal and that their elected future as politicians is at risk, then they will listen, but only then.

Gavin Wishart,

New Westminster

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