Clarifying a statement made in late April that she would ban U.S.-sourced thermal coal exports from B.C. ports, BC Liberals leader Christy Clark announced this week that in addition, she would apply a $70 per-tonne carbon tax on all shipments from Canadian sources, like Alberta and Saskatchewan.
While Ridley Terminals Inc. (RTI) does not handle U.S.-based thermal coal like its neighbours to the south in Vancouver, the federally-owned Ridley does handle Canadian-sourced thermal coal, and it made up 55 per cent of all exports from the terminal in 2016, shipping 2,205,234 tonnes out of 3,992,307 total tonnes in that timespan.
In March 2017, the month with the latest performance reports from the Port of Prince Rupert, RTI handled 231,540 tonnes of thermal coal. Should the carbon tax have applied, the charge to producers would have been $16,207,800.
The move by Clark came as a response to U.S.-imposed 20 per cent preliminary lumber duties taking effect this month.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she does not believe B.C. has the authority to prevent Alberta commodities from being shipped through federally regulated ports.
Clark said that B.C. can help meet its GHG emission targets with a thermal coal ban, which the BC Liberals say is the “dirtiest and most carbon-intensive methods to generate power and heat.”
“Ideally, the federal government will act on our request to ban thermal coal in our ports – but if they don’t, British Columbia will charge a carbon levy on it. By doing so, British Columbia will establish the world’s greenhouse gas benchmark for thermal coal – and make it uncompetitive to ship through B.C. ports,” said Clark in a news release this week, adding she would instruct the civil service to immediately start drafting the framework behind the carbon taxes should the BC Liberals be re-elected.
RTI corporate affairs manager Michelle Bryant-Gravelle said that as of now, all the terminal’s thermal coal is sourced from B.C.’s neighbour.
“Currently all of our thermal coal comes from Alberta. We are still waiting on a response from the federal government on Christy Clark’s position on thermal coal,” she said on Thursday.
– With files from Tom Fletcher