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Letter to Metro Vancouver Environment and Parks Committee

Apr 17, 2013

April 16, 2013

Heather Deal
Chair, Environment and Parks Committee
Metro Vancouver

Dear Ms. Deal:

The Coal Alliance, which represents major stakeholders in the coal industry, wishes to express its profound disappointment in the decision by Metro Vancouver’s Environment and Parks Committee to oppose the handling of additional coal exports through Port Metro Vancouver.

We note the decision was taken without consultation with any of our industry partners. In fact the only voice heard by the committee was from an anti-development group whose publicly stated goal is the complete elimination of the BC coal industry.

As Port Metro Vancouver has stated, project permits are not issued until all of the required technical reviews and municipal, First Nations and community consultation are complete. Further, concerns about noise and dust are carefully considered as part of the permitting process, where Port officials maintain an ongoing dialogue with provincial health authorities as well as with local communities and municipal governments.

Our industry is heavily regulated and subject to review by no fewer than eight different agencies representing all levels of government, including Metro Vancouver for air quality permits. Investments in new dust suppression technologies on trains and at the terminals have helped contribute to the continuous air quality improvements in Metro Vancouver.

We remind you that transporting coal is safe. The federal government, which regulates much of our industry, has determined that coal is not a hazardous substance and is therefore not regulated as such. That said, the industry has taken steps to ensure coal remains in railcars during transport. The rail cars are sprayed with a biodegradable coating that prevents coal from escaping while in transit – from mine to terminal. At the terminals, there are also a number of additional dust suppression measures in place.

Port Metro Vancouver has been shipping coal safely and responsibly for more than 40 years, and it has long been our principal export. Coal is, and will continue to be, a vital part of Canada’s international trade, creating high paying jobs for British Columbians and revenues for federal, provincial and local governments.

We look forward to discussing this further at the April 26th meeting of the board.

Sincerely,

Alan Fryer
Spokesperson, Coal Alliance

cc. Greg Moore – Chair, Metro Vancouver
Metro Vancouver Environment and Parks Committee members

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