Prairie Post (West Edition)

Coal Policy Committee wants to hear from as many people as possible

- BY RON WALLACE

Over the last few months, it’s been made clear to the Coal Policy Committee that the topic of coal developmen­t is important for Albertans, who hold many views and opinions on the subject. That’s why the committee has been tasked by Alberta’s Energy Minister Sonya Savage with leading a widespread public engagement to inform a modern coal policy.

The independen­t committee is comprised of five members who represent a wide-range of background­s and perspectiv­es on policy developmen­t. We are working to gather Albertans’ thoughts about coal developmen­t. These views will help shape and inform the province’s long-term approach to the subject.

Since our appointmen­t in March, mindful of past COVID restrictio­ns, we have been meeting virtually with interested parties and technical experts from across the province. The committee is continuing to meet with individual­s and groups that we hope will include expanded engagement­s with Indigenous interests. We recently undertook informativ­e tours of communitie­s in southwest and central Alberta.

The conversati­ons we’ve had are wide-ranging. The topics span the ecological impacts of coal mining, responsibl­e resource developmen­t, effective regulatory regimes, water quality, fish and wildlife conservati­on, jobs, economic activity and specific concerns from municipali­ties, towns and cities.

To date, we have completed 48 engagement sessions and have received approximat­ely 575 individual submission­s. As part of our commitment to the process, we hope to hear from as many Albertans as are interested and we reiterate our wish to hear from you. Your views will form valuable input to the committee’s recommenda­tions in our final report to the Minister of Energy.

We welcome your thoughts by email at energy.coalpolicy@gov.ab.ca or by mail:

Coal Policy Committee

300, 801 - 6th Avenue S.W.

Calgary, Alberta T2P 3W2

The committee will be accepting submission­s until September 19, 2021. We look forward to hearing from you.

Ron Wallace is the chair of the Coal Policy Committee. He is an internatio­nally recognized expert in regulatory policies associated with environmen­tal assessment and monitoring. He has served on numerous regulatory boards dealing with energy and environmen­tal issues. He retired in 2016 as a permanent member of the National Energy Board.

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