LETTER: Coal is not a dangerous good

Numerous unions have stated that there are no health concerns from coal

Re: No deal yet on train detour through downtown Abbotsford, June 27 edition.

Your article mistakenly implies that coal is a dangerous good. Transport Canada does not classify coal as a dangerous good. Because it’s not.

Indeed the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, whose members work in the closest proximity to coal every day, has stated publicly and unequivocally that there are no health concerns from coal. And so have three other major unions who represent many of the 26,000 men and women who work in B.C.’s coal industry.

The coal industry works hard every day to carefully manage our operations so that our employees and the communities in which we live and work, and through which we travel, are kept safe. Loaded trains are sprayed with a binding agent to keep the coal in the railcars. At the terminals, continuous monitoring and water sprays keeps the coal away from nearby communities.

And as for any concerns around the temporary rerouting of empty BNSF railcars, Westshore Terminals has recently added a new spray program that ensures every single empty railcar is also sprayed with an additional binding agent before leaving the terminal to make certain that any residual coal from unloading remains in the cars.

The coal industry has been mining and shipping coal safely and responsibly for decades and is committed to keeping our communities and our workers safe.

Alan Fryer

Spokesperson, Coal Alliance