Diesel fumes a concern as port operations grow in Prince Rupert

The following was received as an open letter to Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO Don Krusel.

The following was received as an open letter to Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO Don Krusel.

Dear Mr. Krusel:

Re: Westview Wood Pellet Terminal commissioning.

Thank you for your letter dated Jan. 23, 2014 concerning noise and light issues related to the Westview Wood Pellet Terminal.

As residents of the Westview area, we find the noise and light emissions from the terminal to be within expectations for a port area. That said, with the lack of action on shore access and the Rushbrook Trail reopening, Pinnacle and the Port can do a great deal more to be considered desirable neighbours.

For example, we are very concerned with air quality issues related to Pinnacle and the port in general. Diesel emissions from loading carriers and transiting cargo traffic at times make our pristine Prince Rupert air extremely foul. This is of particular concern in residential areas and near schools where young lungs are more easily harmed by noxious emissions. Diesel exhaust contains more than 40 toxic air contaminants, including many known or suspected carcinogens such as benzene, arsenic, formaldehyde and NOx compounds.

Stringent regulations which stipulate minimum fuel and modern engine standards across the entire port cargo chain of custody — together with initiatives such as shore power at all port facilities —­ can greatly reduce the pernicious effects associated with diesel smoke.

Unless port facility operators are proactive in this regard, we’ll see the typical race to the bottom of environmental standards continue whereby shippers seeking to cut costs use fuels and engines here that would not be permitted in competing jurisdictions such as California.

The best neighbours deal pro-actively with issues before they become contentious. I am pleased to see that they are taking seriously  light and noise issues arising from the Westview Wood Pellet Terminal. I look forward to similar continuing consideration in matters of air quality and shoreline access.

William Spat

Prince Rupert