Politics Blog

B.C. coal port to get more study; opponents not satisfied

Port Metro Vancouver has ordered Fraser Surrey Docks to do more study of the impacts of its proposed coal-loading facility on the Fraser River, but environmentalists contend the broader study still falls short.

Among other things, the critics say the new study, as outlined in a Thursday, Sept. 12 press conference, doesn't include a thorough study of health impacts.

Officials for the dock operation and BNSF Railway Co. say they are taking extra measures to minimize dust problems in Surrey.

The Vancouver Sun reports.  

Near the end of the Sun's report, Fraser Surrey CEO Jeff Scott said BNSF will install dust control equipment at the site to spray dust-suppressing chemicals and minimize dust release when coal is transferred from trains to vessels.

In an email, BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace added the railroad's perspective on that:

" In discussions with FSD regarding the permitting of their facility, BNSF Railway has voluntarily agreed to establish a re-spray center to help satisfy a regulatory request from Port Metro Vancouver," Wallace's email said. "We firmly believe our coal loading rule effectively addresses coal dust by requiring the application of a topping agent when coal is loaded. This additional, voluntary effort provides another level of redundancy to an already well-established mitigation process and helps with the permitting process for Fraser Surrey Docks ...  Above all else, establishing a re-spray center demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the communities where we operate that coal dust will not be an issue.


 "We are currently working through numerous details regarding the re-spray station, including a possible location, permitting and timelines. Once the re-spray center is operational, we expect that all coal transported to Vancouver will be treated at the facility."

(end of BNSF comment)

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