Mining

Government action holding oilsands operators to account on tailings management long overdue

Pembina Institute reacts to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation’s finding on oilsands tailings

CALGARY — Nina Lothian, director of responsible fossil fuels at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation's final report on Alberta tailings ponds, released Sept. 3, 2020, which found scientific evidence of contaminated water seeping into groundwater around oilsands tailings ponds. Read more about Government action holding oilsands operators to account on tailings management long overdue

Issue Brief: Vista coal mine expansion

Updated: September 3, 2020

The Coalspur Vista mine is one of the largest thermal coal mines in Canada, and the proposed expansion could almost triple its capacity. Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson declined in December 2019 to order a federal impact assessment, but he reversed this decision on July 30 so the project will undergo a federal impact assessment. Coalspur Mines has launched a legal challenge to the Minister's decision.

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Coal? Are you serious?

From the CPAWS Southern Alberta website:

On June 1st, a provincial Coal Policy that has been in place since 1976 was rescinded by the Government of Alberta. The cancellation of the policy removed land zoning that restricted open pit coal mining and coal exploration in some of Alberta’s most environmentally sensitive areas.  Read more about Coal? Are you serious?

Canada agrees federal impact assessment necessary for mine expansion near Hinton, Alberta

EDMONTON, AB – CPAWS applauds the decision by the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, to approve the request for a federal impact assessment for a proposed thermal coal mine expansion near Hinton, Alberta. The decision shows Minister Wilkinson understands the serious need to assess adverse environmental impacts that result from outdated thermal coal mining. Read more about Canada agrees federal impact assessment necessary for mine expansion near Hinton, Alberta

Issue Brief: Rescinding the Alberta Coal Policy

The Alberta government rescinded the 1976 Coal Policy on June 1, saying the policy was no longer relevant due to regulatory changes and new approaches in land use planning since the 1970s. However, gaps in land use plans (particularly in the eastern slopes region) may leave sensitive regions open to coal development. Read more about Issue Brief: Rescinding the Alberta Coal Policy

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. Read more about Alberta Energy Regulator Rules that Coal and Wildlife Don’t Mix

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

Alberta Strips Away Significant Mountain-Foothills Protection To Encourage Coal Mines

Coal Policy land zones, which have protected important mountain and foothills headwaters and wildlife habitat from open pit coal mining since 1976, were stripped away in a recent move by the Government of Alberta.

This policy change, made without any public consultation, has the potential to open up over 4.7 million hectares of environmentally sensitive lands to boom-and-bust coal developments, further jeopardizing headwaters integrity, wildlife security and the recovery of species at risk. Read more about Alberta Strips Away Significant Mountain-Foothills Protection To Encourage Coal Mines

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