Posted on May 17, 2021
UCP REFUSES TO PROBE IMPACT OF COAL MINING ON PROPERTY OWNERS’ RIGHTS
EDMONTON - The UCP’s coal cover-up continued today as government MLAs silenced any discussion of coal mining at a new committee charged with enhancing property owners’ rights.
“Scarring our beautiful Alberta landscapes and contaminating our water supply with selenium has an obvious impact on the rights of landowners in Alberta,” said NDP Environment Critic Marlin Schmidt. “But once again, UCP MLAs refuse to speak up for their constituents against Jason Kenney’s plans to open the Eastern Slopes and its watersheds to foreign coal mining companies.”
Today was the first meeting of the Select Special Committee on Real Property Rights, which is charged with studying whether Alberta property owners’ rights are sufficiently protected and whether they could be enhanced.
Opposition members proposed that the committee’s work include study of the Coal Conservation Act, Mines and Minerals Act, and Water Act. UCP MLAs Brad Rutherford, Michaela Glasgo, Laila Goodridge, David Hanson, Nicholas Milliken, Ronald Orr, and Garth Rowswell voted not to include the review of these acts as a part of the committee’s work.
“We have heard from many property owners, farmers, and ranchers about the impacts of coal mining and water allocation and the long term economic impact these decisions will have on rural Alberta. Once again the government is ignoring these voices.” said NDP Agriculture and Forestry Critic Heather Sweet.
The UCP MLAs of the committee also established that a subcommittee can meet in secret without attendance of opposition MLAs to do substantial business of the committee.
The committee’s work begins while the UCP is also running a so-called consultation on coal mining, one which makes no specific mention of land use or water protection.
“When will Jason Kenney and the UCP get the message that Albertans have no more patience for secret meetings and back-room deals with foreign coal companies?” said Marlin Schmidt. “The UCP set up a committee to enhance property rights, and then refused to publicly discuss the most pressing issue of real property rights. It’s shameful.”