Treaty 6, 7 and 8, Alberta | May 25, 2022
Yesterday, the Town of High River joined a list of 30 organizations and became the first municipality to endorse “A Coal Policy for Alberta – 2022 and Beyond.” Written in the form of a provincial government policy and inspired by the 2021 Town of High River’s Proposed Coal Restriction Policy, this document provides a detailed policy path to clearly and conclusively address the concerns of Albertans related to new coal exploration and development in Alberta and its impacts on lands, waters, treaty rights, and sustainable economic activities.
The release of the document coincides with the two-year anniversary of the government’s rescission of the 1976 Coal Policy on May 15th, 2020 — a decision that was met with outrage from Albertans and followed by two years of public pressure to permanently protect the Rocky Mountains from coal exploration and development. However, while the 1976 Coal Policy may have been appropriate for land management years ago, the reinstatement of the policy is not sufficient to address the issues of today; Alberta needs a modern, all-encompassing policy to protect the eastern slopes now and into the future.
“A Coal Policy for Alberta – 2022 and Beyond” is based on the extensive public input to the Coal Policy Committee, posted publicly online and included in their final reports. It was written and endorsed by a wide range of Albertans including Indigenous groups, municipalities, hunters, anglers, ranchers, rural landowners, businesses, conservationists, and recreationists. The Policy considers the current global, national, and provincial policy contexts. It preserves our landscapes, livelihoods, communities, wildlife and water, and enables citizens, Indigenous peoples and stakeholders to work toward a sustainable and resilient environment and economy.
While the Coal Policy Committee and their targeted stakeholder engagement resulted in a clear record of public opinion, the government direction in Ministerial Order 002/2022, announced on March 4th failed to permanently protect the Eastern Slopes from coal development. Instead, the government simply put coal development on hold, reinstated the 1976 Coal Policy and deferred the final decision on the future of coal development to land-use planning.
Given that the government’s approach does not adequately address the concerns articulated by Albertans in relation to coal development, this Policy has been created to direct clear legislative and regulatory action to permanently resolve these concerns and provide an alternate, and responsible, direction for the province.
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; and
- Ensure timely and effective remediation of lands disturbed by coal exploration and mining activities.
We urge the Government of Alberta and all parties to reflect on the directives of this Policy and to conduct extensive public consultation and Indigenous government-to-government consultation before adopting and implementing a new, modern coal policy for the province.
To learn more, visit www.acoalpolicyforalberta.com
“A Coal Policy for Alberta — 2022 and Beyond” is endorsed by the following organizations:
Alberta Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society
Alberta Flyfishing Adventures
Alberta Hiking Association
Angling Outfitter and Guide Association of Alberta
Bow River Trout Foundation
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Climate Justice Edmonton
Council of Canadians
Council of Canadians Medicine Hat Chapter
CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter
CPAWS Northern Alberta Chapter
Crowsnest Cafe and Flyshop
Fish Tales Fly Shop Ltd.
Hook and Hackle Club
Livingstone Landowners Group
Northern Lights Fly Fishers Trout Unlimited Chapter
Out Fly Fishing Outfitter and Fly Shop
Plateau Cattle Company
Reid’s Fly Shop
Rocking P Ranch
Southern Alberta Group for the Environment (SAGE)
Trail’s End Beef
Town of High River
Trout Unlimited Canada
Trout Unlimited Canada — Oldman River Chapter Society
West Athabasca Bioregional Society
West Country Sustainability Coalition
Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative