Christy Clark asks Trudeau for ban on US thermal coal in BC ports

Apr 26 2017, 8:27 pm

In what seems like a response of sorts to the Trump administration’s decision to impose new tariffs on US-bound Canadian softwood lumber, BC Liberal leader Christy Clark has written to Justin Trudeau asking for a ban on US thermal coal coming through BC ports.

Mentioning that she told British Columbians she would use every tool at her disposal to get a fair deal on softwood lumber, Clark then appears to switch gears and go after coal.

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Clark writes that “for many years, a high volume” of US thermal coal has made its way through BC, bound for Asia.

“It’s not good for the environment, but friends and trading partners cooperate,” she furthers. “Clearly, the US is taking a different approach, so I am writing to you today to ban the shipment of thermal coals from BC ports.”

She adds that, over the past five years, every coal export facility on the American West Coast “has been rejected or withdrawn, typically as a result of environmental or ecological concerns.”

By eliminating these shipments through BC ports, she adds, “we can open up additional capacity for metallurgical coal that is used to make long-lasting steel, not burned to produce short-term electricity.”

In addition, doing so “is in line with the values of Canada and the Cascadia region,” the letter claims.

And with the US Commerce Department’s decision “to impose these unfair and unwarranted duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports, now is the time to align our shared values with our environmental policy.”

BC Greens respond

In a statement, BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver responded to news of Clark’s letter, saying the move was “long overdue.”

Weaver noted that three years ago, he “introduced an amendment to the throne speech to stop the expansion of thermal coal exports, because that was the right thing to do, [but] both the Liberals and NDP voted against it.”

Now, he said, BC needs to carefully coordinate “all of its moves on trade with Ottawa to ensure that BC’s interests are always front and centre.”