The provincial government has decided to reinstate a 44-year-old coal policy to protect the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The government says the 1976 coal policy, which was rescinded last year, is being put back into place after hearing concerns raised by Albertans about surface mining in that area.
This includes reinstating the four coal categories, which dictated where and how coal leasing, exploration, and development could occur.
The Minister of Energy has also issued a directive to the Alberta Energy Regulator against mountaintop removal, as well as making sure all of the restrictions under the 1976 coal categories apply, including all restrictions on surface mining in Category 2 lands. All future coal exploration approvals on Category 2 lands will be prohibited pending widespread consultations on a new coal policy.
“Albertans have spoken loud and clear and we have heard them,” says Sonya Savage. “Not only will we reinstate the full 1976 coal policy, we will implement further protections and consult with Albertans on a new, modern coal policy. Alberta’s government is absolutely committed to protecting the majestic Eastern Slopes and the surrounding natural environment,”
The coal policy has been a major issue in recent weeks, with several municipalities and even celebrities expressing serious concerns about the future impacts on the environment, especially watersheds.