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LETTER: Halt all coal exploration until a full, independent consultation is done

"Exploratory development, forest clearing, and road construction will not be halted on these projects."
Once again, Albertans have had an important press release from the UCP government on a Friday afternoon: April 23, late in the day. It was an announcement of concern to a majority of Albertans.  

Energy Minister Sonya Savage announced the following: "Thank you to the thousands of Albertans who took part in the initial survey.  Your voices are being heard.  We are halting exploration activities in Category 2 lands because we remain steadfast in our commitment to having an open and honest conversation about the long-term approach to coal development in our province."

Sounds like a real good news story. But the coal projects that will be affected by this announcement are Cabin Ridge and Valory Resources. The majority of coal developments in the Eastern Slopes remain unaffected by this moratorium.

Mining projects like Grassy Mountain (Benga Mines) and Tent Mountain (Montem Resources) are on Category 4 lands. Exploratory development, forest clearing, and road construction will not be halted on these projects.

The Aries Coal Project (Ram River Coal Corporation) will not have its activities halted. This project is located in the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan River and so will affect the City of Edmonton's and St. Albert's water supply in every way, including quantity and quality – pollutants such as selenium.  

What Minister Savage should have done, if she is sincere about "our voices being heard" and "having an open and honest conversation," is to immediately stop ALL exploration activities on all four categories of lands (of the 1976 Coal Policy) and prove to Albertans that there would be no coal development and no further coal exploration until a full, independent coal consultation with Albertans is completed.  

Barbara Collier, St. Albert


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