The Alberta government has canceled its plans to expand the coal mine in the Rockies.
Public opposition to change has grown significantly in recent days as tens of thousands of people signed petitions, wrote letters and joined online groups.
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Energy Minister Sonya Savage said in a statement sent by email that the province will cancel 11 recently issued coal leases and suspend the sale of any future coal leases in former Class 2 countries.
“We have listened carefully to the concerns expressed in recent days and thank those who spoke passionately,” he said.
“As a result, we will suspend sales of future coal leases in former Class 2 countries. The carbon leases in the December 2020 auction will be canceled.”
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“I want to be absolutely clear: Under current conditions, just like in the 1976 coal policy, coal leases do not allow exploration, development or production without a comprehensive regulatory assessment. The lease holder has no more right to enter into rental property than any other Albertan.
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“This break will allow our government to ensure that the interests of Albertans mineral resource owners are protected.
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“Coal development remains an important part of Canada’s western economy, especially in rural communities, but we are committed to demonstrating that it is being developed responsibly only in accordance with Alberda’s modern regulatory standards and processes.
“This decision has no impact on existing coal projects currently under review.”
On Monday, more than 100,000 signatures had been collected on two petitions opposing the move by the United Conservative government on two related fronts.
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A Facebook site called Protect Alberta’s Rockies and Headwaters has more than doubled its membership to over 10,000 last week.
Last week, musician Corb Lund released a Facebook video about the province’s plans to open a huge portion of the Rocky Mountains to an open pit.
“The scale of this thing – it’s huge,” Lund said in an interview.
“I come from the foot, and it threatens the hell Our Water. And the mountains. It is big. “
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According to the NDP, the decision is a “small profit,” but the eight leases already sold are still in effect.
“Today’s UCP restoration of the removal of Class 2 public land protections is a small victory for the thousands of Albanians who have spoken of this UCP government’s reckless decision to copy Peter Lougheed’s coal policy,” NDP environmental critic Marlin Schmidt said in a statement.
“Although the UCP board has agreed to cancel the last 11 coal leases, there are still eight leases they sold last May.
“Moreover, they have not yet committed themselves to restoring carbon policy and negotiating before any changes are made. Without these commitments, these valuable wild farms are still under threat.”
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