Westshore urges Ottawa to keep border open to U.S. thermal coal – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – April 28, 2017)


Westshore Terminals Investment Corp., the operator of a B.C. coal-shipping facility that exports to Asia, is urging Ottawa to maintain the flow of imports of thermal coal by train from U.S. mines in an unexpected twist during a week of rising trade tensions between the two neighbouring countries.

Westshore, whose largest shareholder is B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison, is upset that B.C. Premier Christy Clark has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ban exports of thermal coal from British Columbian ports – a move that would effectively block train deliveries of U.S. coal from crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

Thermal coal is used to fuel plants that generate electricity. That type of coal is “dirty” and bad for the environment, Ms. Clark said Wednesday morning while campaigning for the May 9 provincial election.

Westshore’s share price, which fell 12 per cent on Wednesday, climbed 2 per cent on Thursday to close at $23.45 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In her letter to Mr. Trudeau, Ms. Clark linked her request to the Trump administration’s decision earlier this week to slap countervailing duties on Canadian lumber exports south of the border: “Banning thermal coal from British Columbian ports is in line with the values of Canada and the Cascadia region.

And with the decision by the United States Department of Commerce to impose these unfair and unwarranted duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports, now is the time to align our shared values with our environmental policy.”

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