For those not paying attention (and really, why would you?)…
…the proposal to convert part of Fraser Surrey Docks to a coal terminal (the one where they plan to export of low-quality US-sourced thermal coal after employing US-based BNSF Railway to ship it here through the back yards of a bunch of our South-of-the-Fraser neighbours) has entered into the Environmental Impact Assessment phase.
Some have found this assessment to be lacking.
You don’t have to take a medical health officer’s word for it, you can read the entirety of the assessment here, although you better put on some coffee, because the report is technical and I count 900+ pages with appendices.
|Yes, that’s it. No, I have not read it. At least not all of it. Yet.|
While you are reading it, you might also want to take notes, as the public comment period is now open, so you, as a member of the public, are free to opine to the Port about the assessment and the project in general. You can send in comments by mail, e-mail, or FAX until 4:00pm on December 17, 2013, to the addresses available here.
Another way you can make your voice heard is to post your comments to a website a group called Voters Taking Action on Climate Change have set up. They call it “Real Port Hearings”, and they will use that site to collect feedback that the Port should be hearing. They plan to forward your feedback to the Port, however, since the Port is not compelled to make any of the feedback they receive public, VTACC will make the feedback public for them; doing the public engagement that the Port should be doing.
Also, if you want to learn more first, you could show up at Green Drinks on Thursday and hear what a couple of well-informed people have to say on the topic of Coal Exports. One of the hosts of the evening is the New Westminster Environmental Partners’ Coal Spokesperson Andrew Murray, and, well, you know who he is! Andrew will be introducing two (2!) special guests who also have a lot to say on the topic of coal and how the Port engages the community:
Laura Benson is Coal Campaigner for the Dogwood Initiative, which has been one of the leading organizations in BC fighting to protect our coasts and our atmosphere from bad decisions and short-term thinking. They are collecting petitions at their Beyond Coal site, trying to get your voice to the elected officials who have the decision making powers on this issue, but are strangely silent on exporting such a dangerous product.
Peter Hall is a Prof at SFU’s famed Urban Studies Program. He is studying the connections between shipping and logistics networks, and how they impact employment and development patterns in port cities. He is also interested in Ports as institutions, and the differing governance models that regulate them. As I’ve said before, so much of the issues that New Westminster cares about (bridges and truck traffic, railways, development of the waterfront, etc.) are Port-related issues, and the research Dr. Hall does is directly applicable to the decisions being made here today, on Coal and on these other topics.
This Thursday, in the “Back Room” of the Heritage Grill, on Columbia Street in Downtown New Westminster. The Heritage is a food-primary establishment, meaning that you do not have to be 19 to enter, and we make it as inclusive as possible. The goal of Green Drinks is to have a comfortable, informal setting where people can mix and mingle, and talk about sustainability and environment. Everyone is welcome, entry is free, and opinions are encouraged! Our speakers might give short talks, but the emphasis is always on two-way and multi-way discussions about topics of common interest – a cocktail party of green ideas, if you will.
See you there!