2000 Hectares of Coal Leases Transferred: Government Backtracks on Promise to Pause New Coal Activity

October 6, 2021

Despite promises from the Alberta Government that coal development activity would be paused, CPAWS has learned of the transfer of a number of coal lease applications in SW Alberta over summer 2021. Three coal lease applications changed hands between July and August 2021. The lease application transfers for three parcels of land in SW Alberta fall on contentious ‘Category 2’ lands, covering over 2,000 hectares; formerly held by Peace River Coal Corporation. The applications were transferred to Cabin Ridge Project Limited, a company that currently holds several adjacent freehold coal agreements in the area.

“We are disappointed to see that neither the government nor coal companies are respecting the ongoing public engagement process surrounding the future of coal development in Alberta. They are behaving like everything can carry on ‘business as usual’ when Albertans have told them time and time again over the last year that ‘business as usual’ is not working,” said Katie Morrison, Conservation Director of CPAWS Southern Alberta.

Map showing Cabin Ridge properties as of Sept 2021
Map showing Cabin Ridge properties as of September 2021

CPAWS staff noticed the changes in a routine review of coal applications and leases between July and August 2021. The change comes at a time when the ministerially appointed Coal Policy Engagement Committee has been conducting targeted stakeholder engagement sessions. The panel is set to hand their recommendations regarding a potential new Provincial Coal Policy to Minister of Energy, Sonya Savage, in November 2021.

“This change leads us to believe that there are behind the scenes activities occurring between the coal companies and the Government of Alberta at a time when both parties should be respectful of that fact that there is ongoing dialogue with Albertans about the future of coal in the province,” said Morrison “It leaves us with serious doubts about whether the government or coal companies are engaging in this process in good faith.”

CPAWS is encouraging Albertans to ask the Government of Alberta to commit to pausing further coal activity and exploration until a full public and Indigenous consultations can be conducted and a new policy is in place. Let the government know what you want from a new coal policy by writing your letter today.

For more information, please contact: 

Katie Morrison
Conservation Director, CPAWS Southern Alberta