Prairie Post (West Edition)

NDP calls for commitment to protect rocket from coal mining


The Alberta NDP is demanding an immediate commitment from Premier Danielle Smith that she will not proceed with plans to mine the Rocky Mountains for coal. During the UCP leadership campaign, Smith refused to commit to a ban on mining in the area, stating only in an Oct. 2 news article that she would do further consultati­on. This week, new articles have surfaced with coal mine proponents expressing hope that the Premier would reopen mining activity in the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains. This comes despite multiple public opinion polls and a government-appointed committee determinin­g previously that Albertans wanted a ban on mining in the Eastern Slopes.

“Albertans have been clear — they want the government to protect their mountains,” said NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley. “Today, the Alberta NDP is calling for a clear commitment from Danielle Smith that there will be no coal mining in the Eastern Slopes.”

Previously, NDP Leader Rachel Notley twice introduced the Eastern Slopes Protection Act in the Legislatur­e to put a halt to all coal mining activity in the region. The legislatio­n came following online consultati­ons convened by the Official Opposition that were attended by thousands of Albertans concerned about the harmful impacts of coal mining. The UCP used various stall tactics to prevent a formal vote on the Act.

“Passing the Eastern Slopes Protection Act is long overdue,” Ganley said. “We will work with the Government if they’re willing but let’s get this bill through the Legislatur­e during the Fall session.”

Environmen­t Critic Marlin Schmidt noted that the water that flows from the Eastern Slopes provides drinking water to Southern Albert residents and for agricultur­al operations. Coal mining has the potential to create selenium poisoning in water, Schmidt noted.

“This is terrible. It’s terrible for our drinking water and it will destroy one of the most beautiful places on Earth — our Rocky Mountains,” Schmidt said. “If we mine these beautiful areas, we will never get them back.”

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