CPAWS Northern Alberta Statement of Endorsement for “A Coal Policy for Alberta – 2022 and Beyond”
May 26, 2022
ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐊᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton), AB – CPAWS Northern Alberta endorses “A Coal Policy for Alberta – 2022 and Beyond,” a community drafted policy that provides clear, strong direction for the future of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and Eastern Slopes – one without coal. CPAWS Northern Alberta joins a diverse group of over 30 organizations, including the Town of High River, that support this policy.
The existing policy put in place by the Government of Alberta in March 2022 does not respond to the concerns brought up by Albertans, nor the risks identified by scientific experts. The impressive level of public and stakeholder participation in the Coal Policy Committee’s engagement indicated overwhelming concern for water conservation, habitat loss, climate change, and Indigenous and treaty rights. The feedback provided to the committee was made publicly available online, and through the final reports – which formed the foundation of “A Coal Policy for Alberta – 2022 and beyond”.
CPAWS Northern Alberta does not feel that the re-instatement of the 1976 Coal Policy addresses the significant environmental and community level concerns with coal development. The feedback provided to the coal policy committee indicates that deferring decisions regarding the future of coal to a land use planning process is an inadequate response. “A Coal Policy for Alberta – 2022 and Beyond” provides the strong response Albertans are looking for by preserving the future of Alberta’s water, wildlife, and communities. The community written policy would also address the proposed coal mines labelled as ‘advanced projects’ that the government of Alberta is allowing to move forward – such as Mine 14.
The three pillars of “A Coal Policy for Alberta – 2022 and Beyond” are:
- No new coal exploration and no new coal mines
- Assess the adequacy of the current mine financial security program
- Ensure timely and effective remediation of lands disturbed by coal exploration and mining activities.
In addition to providing avenues for action through legislation, regulation, or code(s) to prohibit coal exploration and development in the Eastern Slopes, the policy document provides broader recommendations for land management and sorely needed land use planning in Alberta.
The policy was written and endorsed by a diverse group of organizations, hunters, anglers, Indigenous groups, landowners, artists, businesses, and recreationalists. The full list of signatories can be viewed on the website.
CPAWS Northern Alberta, alongside the 30 other signatories, urges the Government of Alberta and all parties to reflect on the directives of this Policy in adopting and implementing a new, modern coal policy for the province.