I feel I can no longer remain silent on this issue.
From 1968 until the company’s bankruptcy in 1992, I was responsible for the transportation function of Canada’s largest exporter of metallurgical coal from two Elk Valley mines to Roberts Bank. Shipments amounted to over eight million tonnes per year, all by CP Rail.
The problem of coal-dust emissions from unit trains reared its ugly head shortly after the commencement of shipments in 1970. In an attempt to mitigate, attention was given to the profile of loaded cars, and a crusting agent was applied to the coal surface. This was effective over the first part of the journey but tended to break down further along the route. Complaints were received from residents east of Kamloops and between Hope and Mission. The problem was never totally resolved.
All it takes is a malfunction at the mine or a break in the profile of the load to create a “duster.” I have observed dusting trains in the Lower Mainland, as well as en route. I have also visited some residents to hear their concerns and witness the impact of the dust on their properties.
Consider this: to move the four million tonnes of coal proposed annually, 400-plus loaded trains will be required. For every loaded train, there will be an empty return train, meaning an additional 800 trains moving through White Rock and South Surrey every year. This will create horrendous traffic problems at level crossings.
I have a question for proponents of this project. Why do you think Oregon and Washington will not allow an export coal terminal to be constructed, and why should we be handling additional American coal and exposing ourselves to the risks, simply to create 50 jobs?
Terry L. Garvey, Surrey
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Re: Board of trade backs coal terminal, May 28.
Why would Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman want to push other people to agree with her opinion to transport U.S. coal through B.C. to South Asia?
Many of the U.S. people don’t even want it to go through their own country, and the Sierra Club and other advocacy groups are suing the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and several coal companies because they have concerns about the open coal trains.
Here in Surrey, some people are pushing it and have even been talking about dredging the Fraser River so bigger boats can get to the Fraser Surrey Docks.
So what other businesses are is the board of trade promoting and trying to push through?
And whose interest are they promoting?
Catharina Leidel, Surrey
‘No more’ is no solution
Re: Wishful thinking, June 18 letters.
Reading again more objections to coal-train expansions in the letters to the editor, one ends with the words “we can do better.”
So my question is, where are the recommendations to improve, as it will not go away that easy?
The demands around the world for enlarged energy, supported by technical development, is here to stay. Population growth is expecting more services in any form.
Time for all those who cry “no more” to roll up their sleeves and become productive, instead of wasting their and our time.
Suan H. Booiman, White Rock