When the current Alberta government attempted to repeal a law restricting coal mining in the Rocky Mountains, Canadians of all varieties rallied to oppose it.
The idea of opening exploratory metallurgical mining shafts in the most emblematic of Albertan landscapes, the mountains, has seen nothing but an unprecedented mobilization of the public.
Threatened wildlife, First Nations lands, popular recreation sites, headwaters of a primary freshwater source for communities, and grazing lands used for generations by ranchers typify the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. all labeled Category 2, or not available for mining development, under the 1976 law that the government sought disperse.
Facebook Groups, country music stars, conservationists, farmers and more came together to oppose the repeal, which the United Conservative Party government did. eventually return to, but which controversial Prime Minister Jason Kenney said was just a “right course.”
“We admit that we did not do well,” said Provincial Energy Minister Sonya Savage. “We are not perfect and Albertans have told us so.”
Savage would eventually issue additional directives to the Alberta Energy Regulator stating that: “Mountaintop removal will not be allowed and all restrictions under the 1976 coal categories will apply, including all restrictions on open pit mining. on Category 2 lands “and” All future approvals for coal exploration on Category 2 lands will be prohibited pending widespread consultation on a new coal policy. “
Since the leases and exploration programs approved while the coal policy was terminated may still continue, Albertans are not yet stopping the fight to protect the mountains and headwaters of the province.
Many have been surprised that the provincial government did not seem to expect such a fight from the public.
“You don’t have to look much … at the Alberta tourism ads,” said political science professor Melanee Thomas. The narwhal. “They are literally almost exclusively on the eastern slopes.”
What is happening right now in Alberta is a tremendous demonstration of the power of collective public action and a warning to future politicians who want to make their bread at the expense of wheat.
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