From: Burns Bog Conservation Society
Published June 11, 2013 07:38 AM

Fraser Surrey Docks coal issue

While the coal issue continues to heat up with potential coal port expansion at Fraser Surrey Docks, on River Road, Delta's Burns Bog Conservation Society has announced a forum, 'Coal, Climate Change, Burns Bog and You.'  June 12, 7-9 pm, at Delta Golf Course (#10 and Hwy 91),  

Coal trains, climate change and their implications for the Bog will be addressed by Burns Bog Conservation Society President Eliza Olson, Wilderness Committee's Eoin Madden and Bellingham, Washington resident Frank James, M.D.  These three speakers will be teaching the art of communicating with your government as well as covering the facts of coal port expansion. James will be bringing his experience as an advocate against the Blaine, WA, Cherry Point coal port expansion, currently in environmental review.

Since 2007 there has been a 770% increase in the amount of American coal exported through British Columbia. If the expansion is approved, we will see 174 coal cars travelling 4 times a day. Their total annual coal export is roughly 8 million metric tonnes, which would make the Lower Mainland the largest coal exporter in North America at 59 million metric tonnes annually.

The coal trains from the US cut through four separate places in the internationally recognized Fraser River Delta Ramsar site (Serpentine, Boundary Bay, Burns Bog, South Arm Marshes). Burns Bog is just one of them. Burns Bog is crucial in preventing the buildup of CO2. The lost coal dust, up to a tonne from each of the 125-140 cars would compromise the Bog's function as "the Lungs of the Lower Mainland." Climate change, safety, health, wildlife and fisheries issues are further at risk should the coal trains become a reality at Fraser Surrey Docks. 
Thermal coal is one of the cheapest forms of coal and will be shipped to China for electricity purposes. None of the new exported coal is Canadian. Turning down this coal port expansion would have no impact on the current 33-38 million tonnes shipped out of Roberts Bank at Tsawwassen. Critics raise concerns that Canada is being used as a dumping ground, while getting few economic benefits. Fraser Surrey Docks has stated that an expansion of only about 25 jobs would result.

Since the environmental review process along the Washington/Oregon border would require up to a 3 year time delay, sending coal through Canadian export terminals is a desirable alternative for American companies. Conveniently, Canada does not have the EIS (environmental impact statements) that are required in the US.

Jeff Scott, CEO of Fraser-Surrey Docks, while only appearing in one public hearing at the New Westminster Town Hall on May 28th, claims that no safety issues present themselves and that FSD has an impeccable safety record. However, they have never handled coal at this port.

  Other invitees to the forum include Port Metro Vancouver and local MLAs. While Metro Vancouver (formally GVRD) has planned public submissions on June 14th, Port Metro Vancouver has yet to make such an accommodation. It is important to note that Port Metro Vancouver, claiming a federal mandate, makes the final decision. Burns Bog Conservation Society and the Wilderness Committee hope to raise awareness in the community for the need of full public hearings. Citizens are encouraged to come with their questions and comments.

For information contact
Eoin Madden of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee: 604-353-9603

Steven Faraher-Amidon: (c)778-319-9774
(h) 778-575-5507

Eliza Olson of Burns Bog Conservation Society: 604.572.7303
Tweet @Burns_Bog

Kim Pringle
Communications Assistant

Burns Bog Conservation Society
4-7953 120th Street
Delta, BC V4C 6P6
604-572-0373 | 1-888-850-6264

Contact Info: Burns Bog Conservation Society
4-7953 120th Street
Delta, BC V4C 6P6
604-572-0373 | 1-888-850-6264

Website : Burns Bog Conservation Society

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