SEATTLE– Yesterday, one of the Canada’s top officials, Premier Christy Clark, requested that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stop the export of U.S. coal out of British Columbia’s ports today. This request comes after the Trump Administration imposed a tax on Canadian lumber coming into the United States. If this request is approved, communities across the Pacific Northwest will benefit from a decrease in coal dust and diesel pollution that has long threatened the health of those living along rail lines.
This request was welcomed by organizations that have long opposed transporting coal by rail through Washington and Oregon communities for export in Canada. Stopping U.S. coal from being exported out of Canada would be a victory for communities along the rail lines, which are predominately low-income. Open topped rail cars carrying coal contaminates air and water with particles containing arsenic, lead, mercury, and other dangerous pollutants. These findings are why a Washington Federal Court recently required rail company, BNSF, to study how to solve the issue of coal dust contamination from its trains and required the company to pay $1 million in clean up fees.
Cesia Kearns, Sierra Club’s Western Deputy Director for the Beyond Coal Campaign, issued the following statement:
“We’ve been treating communities along rail lines like a dumping ground for coal dust for years. The coal trains bound for Canada are certainly part of the problem. We hope this request will spark a conversation about why we are shipping coal overseas at the expense of communities at home.”
Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, Power Past Coal co-director, released the following statement:
“Oregon and Washington have shut the door on five out of six coal export proposals; Canada shouldn’t be forced to serve as a conduit for rejected-US coal. Market forces and community support for clean air and water are allowing North America to move on from coal towards cleaner and safer business opportunities.”
Ariel Ross, Coal Campaigner at Dogwood B.C., issued the following statement:
“This was a common-sense move by the Premier of BC. Climate experts, health professionals, municipal governments and citizens groups have been calling for this ban for years. BC should no longer accept products that bring all risk and no reward. We hope that this move will actually lead to the end of thermal coal exports on the west coast.”
Eddy Ury, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities in Bellingham, WA, released the following statement:
“Communities along the rail-route will welcome a ban on US coal export, to ease the air, water and noise pollution from B.C.-bound coal trains that have plagued us for years.”