News & Announcements

Alberta Energy Regulator Rules that Coal and Wildlife Don’t Mix

On July 9th, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) denied Horn Ridge Resources Ltd.’s application to explore for coal in the Kakwa wilderness, west of Grande Cache.

AWA commends the AER for refusing this application as it poses a significant risk to valued wildlife populations and the ecological integrity of sensitive alpine and sub-alpine landscapes.

Albertans always care about their parks, not just during a pandemic

Edmonton – 17 of the 20 parks that were slated for closure at the beginning of this summer, will temporarily be operated this camping season, according to the Alberta Parks COVID 19 response page which was quietly updated last week. This is an important step in the right direction that demonstrates that the voices of Albertans, saying how much they value Alberta Parks, are making a difference. 

New Bill 22 proposes changes to series of environmental tools in the name of “red tape reduction”

Edmonton – A new bill was proposed by the provincial government on June 11, 2020, which takes aim at removing “red tape” to reduce costs, speed up approvals, and eliminate regulations the government deems unnecessary. The new Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020, was proposed by the provincial government on June 11, 2020. The omnibus bill includes 14 changes across six ministries that would affect land use activities within our protected parks, oil sands project approvals, and energy efficiency–among other concerning environmental issues.

Groups across Alberta and the Northwest Territories warn the federal government of impacts of monitoring suspensions on Wood Buffalo National Park

Edmonton – The following letter was submitted on behalf of a joint group including: Fort Chipewyan Métis Association, Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Smith’s Landing First Nation, the Hamlet of Fort Resolution, Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Society Organization, Alberta Wilderness Association, CPAWS Northern Alberta, CPAWS Northwest Territories, Ecology North, Alternatives North, and Council of Canadians – Edmonton and Northwest Territories Chapters. The letter to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change outlines the substantial risks to downstream communities and ecosystems due to the Alberta Energy Regulator’s decision to suspend environmental monitoring for oil & gas projects. The health of Wood Buffalo National Park and the success of its federal Action Plan is undermined by these suspensions. Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest national park, and continued ecological degradation would be grounds to list as a World Heritage Site “in Danger”. 

Download the full letter on the CPAWS website

Rescinding the Alberta Coal Policy opens headwaters in the eastern slopes of the Rockies to open-pit coal mining

Calgary – The Government of Alberta has rescinded A Coal Development Policy for Alberta (1976; the Coal Policy). CPAWS Southern Alberta is concerned about the impacts this will have on Alberta’s treasured mountains and foothills along the eastern slopes of the Rockies. “There are currently no other land use plans or policies that directly replace the environmental zoning and restrictions under the Coal Policy” says Katie Morrison, Conservation Director for CPAWS Southern Alberta. “This leaves sensitive headwaters regions and treasured landscapes that provide habitat for species like grizzly bear, elk, and threatened native trout, at risk to the disturbances that come with surface coal mining and increased exploration.”

Since 1976, the Coal Policy has provided important land use zoning frameworks which have informed management and development of coal mines along the eastern slopes region of Alberta.

The Coal Policy’s Land Classification System prevented coal development on Category 1 lands and restricted development to underground or in-situ mining under Category 2 lands along the eastern slopes. The Coal Policy Category 2 covers 1,458,000 ha of the headwaters areas that provide the majority of drinking water to downstream communities in Alberta and across the prairies. With the removal of the coal policy, open-pit coal mines will now be permitted on these sensitive lands.

Alberta Coal Policy scrapped, making open-pit coal mining more accessible than ever along the eastern slopes of the Rockies

Alberta is cancelling a long-standing coal policy that provided broad protections within our mountain and foothill regions, making it easier to develop open-pit mines in more ecologically sensitive areas. 

Edmonton – On May 15, 2020 the Government of Alberta announced that they were rescinding  A Coal Development Policy for Alberta (Coal Policy) which has provided sweeping environmental protections for coal development since the 1970’s. This has raised concerns about how this will impact Alberta’s treasured mountains and foothills along the eastern slopes of the Rockies.

Environmental monitoring suspended for all oil and gas projects in Alberta

Alberta Energy Regulator suspends requirements for environmental monitoring for all energy projects, citing COVID-19 concerns, despite the Government of Alberta rolling out its plans to reopen the rest of the province

Edmonton – Alberta’s Energy Regulator released two unilateral decisions on May 20, 2020, to suspend a series of environmental monitoring activities for all oil & gas operators and in situ operators. These suspensions include monitoring tailings for migratory bird landings, programs to detect and repair methane leaks, testing of surface waters and groundwater, soil monitoring, reclamation monitoring programs, wetland monitoring, and the requirement for lab testing of waters released to the environment.


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