January 6, 2022
CPAWS Northern and Southern Alberta chapters are disappointed that the long-awaited reports from Alberta’s Coal Policy Engagement committee are still not public after they were submitted to the Government of Alberta’s Minister of Energy on December 30th, 2021.
“Thousands of Albertans have called on the Minister of Energy to make the reports public within one week of their submission,” says Tara Russell, Program Director for CPAWS Northern Alberta. “Many organizations, community groups, experts, and individuals participated in this onerous process in good faith and feel that we have the right to see the results.”
The coal policy committee compiled two reports, a “what we heard” report summarizing the public input, and a report containing recommendations for a new coal policy. These reports were originally due to the Minister of Energy on October 15, and November 15, 2021 respectively.
“Decisions made regarding the future of public lands deserve full transparency and accountability, which could only be assured through the public release of the two reports developed by the Coal Policy Committee,” says Katie Morrison, Executive Director for CPAWS Southern Alberta. “Albertans have very clearly said they want a coal-free future for the iconic Rocky Mountains and Eastern Slopes and sharing these reports will let us know whether these calls have been heard.”
CPAWS Northern and Southern Alberta chapters are also concerned that despite an announcement stating that the moratorium on new coal exploration will be extended, we have still not seen a ministerial order to guarantee the continued halt on new exploration.
Alongside calls for transparency in the process, CPAWS and thousands of Albertans have demanded that the new coal policy for Alberta protects the Eastern Slopes from destructive coal mining and includes key principles such as:
- No further coal exploration or development on the Eastern Slopes of Alberta, including expansions of existing operations.
- Existing thermal and metallurgical coal mining operations in this region should be permitted to reach the end of their lives
- Reclamation of lands disturbed by coal exploration activities with coal exploration permits must be reclaimed by the company no later than December 31, 2025.
- Closure and reclamation of mines no longer in operation should occur as soon as possible.
- Comprehensive, inclusive, and transparent land-use planning, including cumulative effects assessment and threshold planning, should be conducted across the Eastern Slopes
A new policy for Alberta’s headwaters and Rocky Mountains must put the health and wellbeing of our sensitive environment and Albertans first. CPAWS Northern and Southern Alberta urge the Minister of Energy to listen to Albertan’s requests and ensure that the process is as transparent as possible – starting with the release of these reports.
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director, CPAWS Southern Alberta
Program Director, CPAWS Northern Alberta