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Port authority cancels coal transfer facility at Fraser Surrey Docks

Last Updated Feb 2, 2019 at 1:27 am PDT

US coal arriving at terminals (Courtesy Westshore Terminals)

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has cancelled the permit for Fraser Surrey Docks

Several Metro Vancouver cities were opposed to the project, even acting as interveners in the case

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A major coal-related project that faced years of opposition and was fought by the cities of New Westminster and Surrey is no longer going ahead.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has cancelled the permit for Fraser Surrey Docks.

Back in 2014, the first permit was issued, to enable the dock to take US coal coming in by train to be transferred to barges. Originally, the barges were to take the coal to Texada Island, where sea-bound tankers would have taken the coal to Asia. However, in 2015, the permit was altered to allow ocean-bound ships to directly pick up the coal from the facility.

RELATED: Communities and activists to rail against thermal-coal export facility in court

Critics of the project worried about how it would impact the environment, especially air quality, as the coal-trains would not have been equipped with lids. Environmentalists were also opposed to thermal coal being shipped to Asia to generate power, a technology with contribues to climate change.

RELATED: No future in coal: environmental groups ask courts to allow Fraser Surrey Docks case to go ahead

Fraser Thomson is with Ecojustice which launched a court case against the project.

“The end of this project really means that our clients, their families and their neighbours won’t have to be subjected to four-million tonnes of coal going through their communities in open-top coal trains,” he says. “It’s hard not to see this victory as a testament to really what can be achieved when community members step up an say no to a project like this.”

But he adds he hasn’t seen an explanation on why it was cancelled.

Metro Vancouver and cities such as White Rock and Vancouver were against the project, with New Westminster and Surrey even acting as interveners in the court case.

Last year, the federal court ruled in favour of the port’s permit. However Ecojustice has appealed that decision. Thomson says it’s still before the courts.