Posted on Apr 23, 2021
KENNEY PAUSES COAL EXPLORATION, BUT STILL WANTS MINING IN EASTERN SLOPES
EDMONTON - In response to overwhelming public outcry, the Jason Kenney government paused coal exploration in parts of Alberta’s Eastern Slopes, but, despite concerns from tens of thousands of Albertans, pressed ahead with bringing new coal mining to these beautiful landscapes and critical watersheds
“Today is a positive step forward for the tens of thousands of Albertans who have spoken out against this government and its secret coal plot,” said Marlin Schmidt, NDP Critic for Environment and Parks. “If not for those Albertans, we may have never learned about this government’s plans at all.
“But let’s be clear about how we got to this point: this government fast-tracked coal exploration and the expansion of open-pit coal mines without ever consulting Albertans and Minister Sonya Savage admitted today that Albertans are not in favour of that.”
Despite today’s step, Savage did not change the terms of reference on her flawed consultation to include matters related to land-use and or water. In fact, she said such matters were “well beyond the scope” of the engagement. She also made it clear her goal is a “coal policy” and not a “land-use policy.”
“That is not acceptable,” Schmidt said. “These terms of reference must be changed to include Alberta headwaters that so many people depend on.
“We’ve heard from Albertans. They don’t support coal mining in Categories 1 and 2 and they want enhanced regional plans and protections for Categories 3 and 4 before any coal project can ever be considered again.
“That is what we have put forward in our Bill 214, the Eastern Slopes Protection Act, a bill this government blocked from being debated in the House this past Monday. Bill 214 was built in direction consultation with Albertans. It reflects what we heard from Albertans, and what the minister clearly heard in her survey.”
”Albertans don’t want coal mining and they want these protections under law. The Kenney government should work with us to pass the Eastern Slopes Protection Act immediately.”