Posted on Feb 8, 2021
UCP GOVERNMENT LEAVES DOOR OPEN FOR FUTURE COAL DEVELOPMENT
CALGARY - Despite reinstating the 1976 Coal Policy, and announcing plans to consult on a new coal policy, Energy Minister Sonya Savage admitted that those consultations would be aimed at finding ways to further develop coal in Alberta’s fragile eastern slopes.
In today’s press conference, Savage said "we want to ensure that responsible coal mining can happen in the future.”
“As long as this government is in charge our mountains and water are at risk and the fight to protect them has only just begun,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley.
For months, members of the UCP government have insisted that the Lougheed Government’s 1976 Coal Policy was obsolete and that nothing had changed in terms of the risk posed to the headwaters and mountains of the Eastern Slopes. As recently as last week, Premier Jason Kenney called it a “dead letter.” Today’s announcement proves that those repeated claims were not true.
“Given this UCP government’s track record, I’m going to have to insist that they show their work on this one,” said Notley. “Albertans need to know that this consultation will be real, public, transparent, and that their voices will be heard.
“At the very least, any and all consultations going forward must be conducted within the framework outlined in the South Saskatchewan Regional Planning process, including rigorous scientific study and analysis, meaningful engagement with Indigenous leadership, and multiple opportunities for public and stakeholder input.”
Further, the UCP was silent today on its plan to allocate water to coal mining, especially from the Oldman River Basin. Alberta’s NDP is calling on the UCP to stop these changes and commit to consulting publicly to protect the water for drinking, farming, and businesses in Southern Alberta and across the province.