Thermal coal from Wyoming is sent by rail to Fraser Surrey Docks for shipment to Asia, after western U.S. states said they didn’t want the polluting, carbon-intensive fuel for power plants. (Port Metro Vancouver)

Christy Clark calls for U.S. thermal coal export ban

Clark asks Justin Trudeau to ban U.S. thermal coal shipments to B.C. for sale to Asia

Premier Christy Clark has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for a ban on “filthy” U.S. thermal coal shipments from federally regulated B.C. ports.

Clark announced the move Wednesday, in response to 20 per cent preliminary lumber duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department set to take effect May 1.

Clark announced the move at a campaign stop at Catalyst Paper distribution facilities in Surrey Wednesday, a company that has won an unfair trade case with the U.S. over glossy paper. She said her government has been considering the request for some time, but didn’t want to provoke U.S. President Donald Trump while softwood lumber talks were proceeding.

Long trains hauling thermal coal on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line through White Rock and Surrey have been controversial for years. Washington, Oregon and California have rejected the shipments to Asia, where coal-fired power plants foul the air and create significant greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. actions have pushed the trade north to B.C.

In late 2015, Port Metro Vancouver approved an expansion of its Fraser Surrey Docks to handle increased shipments of thermal coal from Wyoming, bound for Asia.

B.C. exports metallurgical coal to Asia from mines in the Kootenays and Northeast from Roberts Bank, near the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. It burns cleaner and is used mainly for steelmaking.

Clark said a ban on U.S. thermal coal would free up B.C. port capacity for B.C. coal, and send a message to the U.S. government about its threats to Canadian trade.

In her letter to Trudeau, Clark noted that Alberta and other provinces are phasing out thermal coal-fired power plants as part of Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts. B.C. is also pushing for export of liquefied natural gas to China, Japan, Korea and other countries to reduce emissions.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver endorsed Clark’s suggestion, noting that the B.C. Liberals and NDP both voted against his motion in the B.C. legislature three years ago.

“I sincerely hope that this move the premier has made is more than just election poltics,” Weaver said.

Just Posted

Sentencing turns to trial, as guilty plea struck

Kevin Simons denied having possession of a knife during a break-and-enter last August

Greyhound announces rural fund plan

Greyhound is lobbying the B.C. government to subsidize rural bus routes

Attempted murder charge up in the air after victim’s death

Without Thomas Szajko’s testimony, alleged shooter Afshin Ighani could get off on that charge

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Update: Dog inside stolen vehicle in Oliver reunited with owner

A black Honda CRV was stolen from the Oliver Chevron early Sunday morning

AlleyCats ally with Penticton artist

Artist Terry Isaac gave up some space in his shop at Cherry Lane to help out the AlleyCats Alliance

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

A classic Christmas play with a Kelowna twist

Scrooge is transported to Kelowna in New Vintage Theatre’s new holiday play, opening Wednesday

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

Red Scorpion associates cuffed in drug-trafficking bust

Kamloops RCMP lay charges in connection to Red Scorpion drug trafficking ring

Merry lottery win for Shuswap man

Five-dollar scratch ticket a $100,000 winner for Sicamous resident

Woman sought in Kamloops stabbing

Kamloops RCMP are looking for the woman they believed stabbed a man on Sunday

Emergency response ‘well executed’ in B.C. carbon monoxide poisoning

Emergency Health Services talks about how first responders dealt with this ‘mass casualty event’

Most Read