Railing against coal trains
Port Metro Vancouver, a self-regulating Crown corporation with no oversight or public accountability, is planning to build a coal transfer terminal in North Surrey.
At full build out, 640 new trains will travel through White Rock and Crescent Beach each year, transporting eight million tonnes of coal.
Once operational, we would become North America’s largest coal exporter.
This project is wrong on several levels.
There are serious concerns about the increased amount of coal dust these uncovered trains will bring to Surrey residents, exacerbating air quality and health issues.
There are real safety issues for Crescent Beach, which already has limited access to emergency services due to the rail crossing.
And of course, there is the complete lack of public consultation for such a major proposal. It is no wonder that communities across the Western United States have fought against increased coal traffic, forcing it into Canada.
However, larger than any of these concerns, is the suggestion that we should enable the export and burning of additional coal while carbon emissions reach historic levels.
The world is on track to go far beyond the internationally agreed two-degree warming limit, with the possibility that we’ll reach a six-degree increase by 2100.
The last time the world faced such temperatures was 55 million years ago.
Under such a catastrophic scenario, most existing agricultural zones will be depleted, sea levels will rise 1.4 metres – putting New York City underwater – the world’s coral reefs will acidify, and extreme weather events will be 45 per cent more destructive. This is the world that children living today will face as seniors.
The only chance we have to reduce these risks is to stop any major fossil fuel projects today.
Often, the fight against climate change seems too large for any individual to make a difference. With this coal proposal, the war on carbon it at our doorstep and we have a responsibility to the world, and future generations, to ensure it does not proceed.
For a city that likes to claim it is home to a sustainable future, approving this coal terminal is hypocritical and will tarnish any green credentials we’ve developed. The coal trains must be stopped, for the sake of Surrey and our planet.
Paul Hillsdon, Surrey
The rumble of discontent
We cannot sustain having trains rumbling through White Rock, Crescent Beach, and South Surrey.
Even when I was 10 years old, I thought it was wrong to run trains through such a heavily populated area.
This is not sustainable. The cost to human life and the environment is too high.
The train engines are much bigger and the horns seem to peel the paint off the wall, and you can hear them 10 miles away, all through the night.
And the powers that be want to increase the traffic to 300 trains a week, 1,200 a month, carrying coal, garbage, and God knows what. We are crazy to accept this.
This issue should have been resolved 60 years ago.
We need to speak as one voice against the railroad bullies.
Robert Melynchuk, Surrey