Thursday, July 10, 2014

Port Metro Vancouver and their responsibilities

Well, here we go again. Port Metro is back in the news. And the news is not good.

Port Metro, as you probably know, has been trying to establish that it is a responsible Corporate citizen Environmentally. In the past several years it has undertaken a number of Environmental initiatives to "Bank" environmental points. These points can then be used when undertaking environmentally questionable efforts like the Terminal 2 expansion for Delta.

This is all encouraged under Canada's "Responsible Resource Development" action plan which supposedly "Strengthens Environmental Protection" as one of its four key themes.

Those are the theories. The reality is that Port Metro as a Federal Crown Corporation sits between the Prime Minister and the Queen in terms of regulatory determination and can (and DOES) pretty much what it wants. The latest news really only goes to emphasize how they see themselves relative to local regulators and their Corporate/environmental responsibilities.

Metro Vancouver issued a $1000 fine to the Fraser Surrey Docks for "discharging an air contaminant during port operations". The response to this fine was not an apology and payment as you might expect a responsible Corporate entity to make. Instead, the response of Fraser Scott, CEO of Fraser Surrey Docks was a letter to Metro that stated they would dispute the charge because it did not believe the Regional District had the authority to issue such a fine.

This brings up some interesting questions:

If the Regional District does not have the authority, who does?
What is Fraser Surrey Docks really interested in here? Are they trying to skirt their environmental  responsibility or are they just letting the local governing body know how powerful they really are.

The truly sad part here is that this was a blast of Soy Dust. Fraser Surrey Docks are proposing to handle over 8 Million tons of American Thermal Coal for shipment to China annually. If they can't be responsible for the handling of Soy can we trust them to be responsible for the Highly Toxic Coal dust?

How does this fit under "Responsible Resource Development"; better yet, how does it "Strengthen Environmental Protection." And lastly; why would a Federal entity want to question a local Municipal Authority on an issue so central to its existence: Corporate Responsibility?

If our regulatory bodies are allowed to fail at this level how can we possibly protect ourselves?

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