Posted on Feb 16, 2021


EDMONTON - Premier’s Jason Kenney’s UCP MLAs blocked a proposal from the NDP Opposition that would have gotten answers for Albertans about the government’s real plans for coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

At a special meeting of the Public Accounts Committee this morning, NDP Environment Critic Marlin Schmidt was to call for officials from the Ministry of Energy and the Alberta Energy Regulator to be invited to appear before the committee next week.

However, UCP MLAs Miranda Rosin, Garth Rowswell, Richard Gotfried, Roger Reid, Peter Guthrie, Drew Barnes, Devinder Toor, and Nathan Neudorf voted to adjourn the meeting after only five minutes, preventing the matter from even being discussed. 

“Jason Kenney and the UCP are hiding the truth about their plans for coal mining in the Rocky Mountains,” Schmidt said. “They have attempted to mislead Albertans ever since they quietly cancelled the 1976 Lougheed Coal Policy on the Friday before the May long weekend last year. Now they’re running away from even discussing it.

“They tried to distract by cancelling a tiny number of new leases. The premier called the Lougheed Coal Policy a dead letter only days before the Minister of Energy announced she was putting it back in place. Albertans have a lot of questions about what the government’s real plans are for coal mining in the Rockies, but the UCP doesn’t want Albertans to hear the answers.”

Albertans want to hear from the Ministry of Energy why mining companies were telling their investors in formal presentations that the 1976 coal policy was going to be rescinded back in 2019, well before the public was informed. Albertans also want to know from the Ministry what deals were cut, what analysis was done, and how they could possibly justify strip mining the Rockies and polluting Alberta headwaters, which would seriously jeopardize agricultural industries.

“I have also heard very loudly from Albertans that re-instating the coal policy is not enough,” Schmidt said. “They want this UCP government to pause all coal exploration and lease activity on Category 2 lands on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. They want new lease applications, lease applications converted to full leases, new full leases, and exploration permits cancelled that were granted after the 1976 policy was rescinded.

“The Minister of Energy has refused to make these commitments, and Albertans want to know why. The UCP ran away from these answers in less than five minutes.”