A city dead set against expanding petroleum exports is decidedly less irked about another type of fossil fuel
Lately, it’s one of the few things that oil boosters and environmental activists can agree upon: Calling Vancouver a hypocrite for opposing carbon emissions while also being the continent’s largest coal port.
And both camps are correct. According to the data, Canada’s mecca of anti-pipeline sentiment does indeed rank as the largest single exporter of coal in North America. Vancouver’s various coal facilities exported 36.8 million tonnes of coal in 2017, according to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.
This places the B.C. city well above Norfolk, Virginia, the busiest coal port in the United States. Despite a massive spike in U.S. coal exports for 2017, only 31.5 million tonnes of coal moved out of Norfolk last year.
Vancouver’s coal exports also dwarf the total coal production for the entire country of Mexico. According to data gathered by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, Mexican mines have produced no more than 16 million tonnes of coal per year since 2006.
Much of Vancouver’s coal is handled by a single facility that ranks as the largest of its kind on the continent. Westshore Terminals loaded 29 million tonnes of coal in 2017, nearly triple the combined coal exports of the entire U.S. West Coast.
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