Is the new coal terminal inevitable?

Dear Editor:

Having made innumerable submissions to various regulatory boards in the United States and Canada over 30 years, having been on a regulatory board staff that approved both routing of pipelines and siting of major industrial projects and having made more than 50 appearances before regulatory boards as an expert witness on energy matters, I may be in a unique position to opine that the Fraser Surrey Docks coal terminal will likely be approved.

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I am so convinced that approval is inevitable that after 25 years living at Quayside across from Fraser Surrey Docks, I relocated to Coquitlam. The prospect of coal dust being added to existing and increasing diesel fumes has the potential to exacerbate my COPD problems. Add in rail noise, increased traffic congestion, and the potential for increased flooding of the Fraser River was a receipt for this investor/economist to divest New West.

On this day of the Port Metro Vancouver AGM I do, however, have some encouraging thoughts, as there are two recent events that may provide a juxtaposition for leverage to convince Port Metro Vancouver's federal appointees to reject Fraser Surrey Docks' coal terminal.

First is U.S. President Barack Obama's recent conversion to coal aversion in recognition of the impacts of burning coal and resulting CO2 emissions on global warming. Wouldn't it be wise for Stephen Harper to instruct his Port Metro Vancouver appointees to block the U.S. coal train alternative to ensure that a shunting of that same U.S. coal through Canada, to be turned into CO2 in China, is derailed?

Second is Obama's long-delayed decision ongranting the U.S. presidential permit required for building the Keystone XL Pipeline. (As former president of a small pipeline company, I have personally applied for and received a presidential permit for a cross-border pipeline.)

If the U.S. president blocks the issuance of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit to export Canadian crude oil, based on environmental grounds, then it puts Stephen Harper in the position of a quid pro quo rejection of U.S. coal exports. It doesn't help that New Westminster has no politicians of the "right" political stripe to press these issues at either federal or provincial levels.

At hearings of the Metro Vancouver board on the Fraser Surrey Docks coal terminal project, climate change experts projected that 38 per cent of New Westminster will be underwater if the juggernaut of rising ocean levels remains unchecked. Better to bail now than bail later!

E.C. "Ted" Eddy, Coquitlam

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