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NEWS: Carbon emissions from increased coal exports in BC would top Northern Gateway pipeline

The Georgia Straight reports, “The (Vancouver Fraser Port Authority) is reviewing an application by Fraser Surrey Docks to develop a ‘direct-transfer coal facility’ to handle up to four million metric tonnes per year—with a potential to rise to eight million metric tonnes per year over the long term. Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway, which is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s holding company, wants to bring the coal in by rail to be loaded onto 8,000 deadweight-tonne barges. They would be towed to Texada Island. From there, the coal would be stored and then placed onto deep-sea vessels for export to overseas markets.”

“Meanwhile, the port authority is reviewing an application by Neptune Terminals to create a new railcar dumper, conveyers, and a longer shiploader boom. ‘Combined, the project proposal will increase the terminal’s coal handling capacity to 18 million metric tonnes per year—an increase of six million metric tonnes,’ the port authority states on its website. ‘Approximately one additional train per day and one additional ship per week are expected to call on the terminal following the project’s completion.'”

“Kevin Washbrook, director of Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, said that Westshore Terminals at Roberts Bank shipped a record 27 million tonnes of coal last year. This, along with the planned upgrades, would mean that the port authority would be able to export 53 million tonnnes per year—which is 10 million tonnes more than the second largest North American coal-exporting port in Norfolk, Virginia. …(That means that the) Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (is) poised to become North America’s largest coal exporter.”

“(Westbrook) also maintained the increased coal exports through the port will lead to greater annual greenhouse-gas emissions (106 million tonnes of carbon dioxide) than annual emissions from oil transported through the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline (80 to 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide).”

British Columbia has ten active coal mines and another twenty in development. To speed this up, Premier Christy Clark has committed $24-million to reduce ‘regulatory delays’ for new mines.

The Georgia Straight article can be read at http://www.straight.com/news/vancouver-fraser-port-authority-poised-become-north-americas-largest-coal-exporter. A campaign blog noting the Westshore Terminals at Roberts Bank in Delta, BC can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17888.