Port Authority misrepresents public comments on coal export proposal: VTACC
Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC) alleges that Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is misrepresenting letters from the public expressing concerns over increased coal exports.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has approved a plan to increase the coal exports shipped from the Neptune Bulk Terminals from 8.5 to 18.5 million tonnes. It received over 640 letters and emails expressing concern over the increase versus 375 emails and letters in favour, but approved the expansion.
VTACC obtained copies of the public comments received by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority in response to their review of two applications to increase coal exports from Metro Vancouver. A review of the files --- one containing comments in favour of coal exports and one containing comments opposed -- gives a very different picture of the public's views.
Just 378 of 640 comments opposed to coal exports were from one of five different "form letters."
That's just 59 per cent: hardly the "vast majority" of comments.
What's more, 360 comments (96 per cent) in support of the coal exports were exactly identical and sent to the Port Authority on one single day: January 16, 2013.
Why did the Port Authority use a double standard when claiming that the majority opposing letters were "form letters", making no mention that over 90 per cent the letters in support of increased coal exports were also form letters?
"If the Port Authority wants to restore public confidence and meet its goal of being a good neighbour to Metro Vancouver communities, it should hit rewind on both the Neptune and Fraser Surrey Docks coal export approval processes and invite broad public participation in these decisions," said VTACC Director Kevin Washbrook.