Thursday, January 10, 2013

Health Officials Want Input into Metro Vancouver Port Projects

Health officials in Canada have sent a letter to Port Metro Vancouver stating that they wish to have input into the port’s expansion plans, including a proposed new coal terminal.

The letter brings up the issue of the potential of air and noise pollution caused by expansion projects.

“Rail and road traffic produce air emissions, noise and risk of injury, as well as livability concerns,” the letter, which is dated Dec. 17 and signed by Vancouver Coastal Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patricia Daly and Dr. Paul van Buynder, vice-president of public health at the Fraser Health Authority, states.

The letter comes as Metro Vancouver is in the process of reviewing a project permit application by Fraser Surrey Docks to develop a direct transfer coal facility that would export coal from the US Midwest to Asia. It would handle up to four million metric tons of coal annually.

A campaign is in progress by environmentalists and public health advocates to block the facility, however.

Although the port has worked in the past with health officials on noise and air quality issues, it has so far been noncommittal regarding the health officials’ request.