BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark has outlined how she intends to ban American thermal coal moving through the province’s ports, in retaliation for the softwood lumber duties imposed last week by the Trump administration.
CKNW affiliate CHNL reports Clark told reporters at a Tuesday campaign stop she’d use existing regulations to jack the cost of thermal coal exports up by about 70 per tonne, making it “utterly uncompetitive” in the global market.
“So if the federal government chooses not to implement a ban on thermal coal shipped through B.C. ports, British Columbia will introduce a carbon levy on thermal coal on our own. We’ll use our powers under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act, the levy will account for the emissions from the extraction, processing, transportation, and combustion of thermal coal handled by B.C. terminals.”
CHNL reports NDP leader John Horgan, himself at a campaign stop in Kamloops, was quick to fire back.
“If Christy Clark was serious about thermal coal, she could have done something about it six years ago. Five years ago. Four years ago. Even a year ago. Instead, she waited until the last two weeks of an election campaign, to make sure that we didn’t remember that she’s been negligent on the softwood lumber file, and now she’s trying to put bravado ahead of good public sense.”
Horgan also slammed Clark for failing to check in with provincially appointed Softwood Lumber trade envoy David Emmerson before pulling the trigger on her coal challenge.
Last month, Clark wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to ban the export of the material in retaliation for U.S. trade positions.
Westshore Terminals, which handles most of the export volume, wrote its own letter to the PM expressing “disappointment,” and warning the move would cost jobs.
Clark says 94 per cent of the coal exported through B.C. ports is thermal coal from the U.S. that is among the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive ways to generate power and heat.
She says metallurgical coal mined in B.C. and used in steelmaking is much cleaner.