Contact: Laura Benson, Beyond Coal Campaign Director (604) 353-9527

Port Metro Vancouver being irresponsible by ignoring health officers

VANCOUVER – With the release of an environmental impact assessment of the Fraser Surrey Docks coal transfer facility expected any moment, chief medical officers for Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health are expressing concern at being shut out of the process.

Along with residents, local and regional governments, elected leaders and many other community and environmental groups, Dogwood Initiative continues to stand behind the medical officers’ call for an independent and comprehensive health impact assessment of plans to increase coal shipments through the Lower Mainland.

“No project should proceed unless the proponent can prove it will be safe for our environment and our communities. If the port and Fraser Surrey Docks cannot produce an assessment that meets the approval of our chief medical officers, how can they prove the project is safe?” asks Laura Benson, director of Dogwood’s Beyond Coal campaign.

“Our health officials have acted diligently in the public interest to question the health impacts of the Fraser Surrey Docks coal expansion proposal. The port’s refusal to address their concerns is simply irresponsible.”

The port and Fraser Surrey Docks have faced a groundswell of opposition to coal export expansion over the past year – more than 26,000 people have now signed petitions.

To date, four municipal councils have expressed environmental and health concerns about the proposal. Five other municipal and regional councils have passed resolutions opposing the proposal including Metro Vancouver and most recently, Fraser Surrey Docks’ home city of Surrey. Late last month several hundred residents rallied in New Westminster to show the port it cannot remain unaccountable to families living along the coal train routes.