Here’s a coal terminal that wants to be a good neighbor:

…a new process the company is implementing to help homeowners deal with coal dust on their property. Residents affected by the dust can now fill out a form and drop it off at the district office to be relayed to RTI.

RTI will then send out a contractor to power wash the coal dust off a homeowner’s property.

Get that? If you’re lucky enough to live near the Prince Rupert coal export facility in northern BC, now you can fill out a form to request that a contractor power wash the coal dust off your house. For free!

Thanks, coal company! Thanks for agreeing to have someone wash off the toxic dirt that you coated my home with!

I’m being sarcastic, but this is no laughing matter: coal dust is well known to harm human health.

If you don’t think coal dust is a problem near export terminals, then take a look at this photo taken in June 2011 near BC’s Ridley Terminal. I’m serious: go look at it.

  • The photo shows a black cloud of dust towering over the fir trees on Ridley Island. That’s what the coal stacks produce when it’s dry and windy. And that’s why local newspaper coverage includes tidbits like this:

    …a massive coal-dust cloud on June 6 that obscured the clear sky and dirtied people’s patio furniture and decks.

    “We have brought this up over the years, this is not the first time…I have never seen the coal dust as bad as it is in these pictures,” added mayor Dave MacDonald.

    Bjorndal also raised concerns about what the proposed expansion to Ridley Terminals will mean, noting that coal dust from the terminal seems to have increased when RTI went from handling two million tonnes per year to handling eight million tonnes and is now planning to create 24 million tonnes of capacity at the site.

    We’ve already documented coal dust problems at terminals in Seward Alaska and the Port Metro Vancouver complex. Now we can add the Prince Rupert export facility to the list of cautionary tales from coal export terminals.

    Don’t forget that the Ridley Terminals facility already has sophisticated coal dust suppression technology. And the coal dust problems there are arising from just 8 or 9 million tons of coal. Coal companies want to ship 5 or 6 times as much coal from Longview and Cherry Point, Washington.