Letters to the Editor

Letter: A head-in-the-sand approach to coal trains

Some say the issue of coal dust from trains passing through Cloverdale is hard to ignore. - Gord Park
Some say the issue of coal dust from trains passing through Cloverdale is hard to ignore.
— image credit: Gord Park

To the editor;

Re: “Coal Dust Captured on Camera,” July 17.

Residents must understand that there is more and more evidence that those trains, when filled with coal or even when empty but with coal remnants, are dangerous.

Coal has carcinogenic qualities in huge amounts, and the size of the microbes is so small, it will not be seen, but will implant in lungs. Young people are at worse risk than older people. Or, it will implant in our fields where food is grown.

Diesel engines are actually worse in this regard. We can’t exempt our children from every ill in the world, but we need to be aware and pick and choose. Which is why we and so many others, including Fraser Health, are saying, let us do the proper health impact assessment that will identify the concerns. And if we are wrong, then so be it. But Port Metro and the Ministry of Health (minister Terry Lake), MP Mark Warawa and Environment Minister Mary Polak don’t want to do this.

Nor does our school board, which acts like this is beyond our jurisdiction. Well, this train coming through with this huge plume of coal dust is right in our jurisdiction. One has to wonder why... why the reality of coal trains in our midst, and getting worse for the summer and future, makes people sort of look the other way. Well this coal dust is hard to ignore, as the photo demonstrates. Tis a bit disingenuous for our Canadian railroads, or BNSF in lines closer to the water,  to claim that this is an anomaly and they will contact the provider to see what happened here. What happened is the wind showed the dust, but, without the wind, the issue of dust coming off and causing huge, long-term lung, cancer and other issues is still present. It’s just not as visual.

To deny it is a head-in-the-sand approach, which the rail companies, and the levels of government supposed to help and protect our health and welfare, are only too happy for us to employ.


Steven Faraher-Amidon

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