By Letter to the Editor on December 24, 2020.
Re: strip-mining the foothills.
Within the debilitating fog of the COVID-19 pandemic it is all too easy to assume that much of the rest of the world has stopped churning along. It has not. Malign forces are still scheming ways to maximize profit at the expense of the general well-being. The miasma of the virus over the public perception has been handy in fact, inasmuch as it provides convenient cover for certain nefarious undertakings.
If you drive west along Highway 3, long about Brocket or so you will see a great wall of limestone towering up against the western horizon. This is the Livingstone Range, marking the hard transition between the Prairies and the Rocky Mountains. It is mute in its grandeur, but it hides a tumultuous and ugly secret. For behind this great phalanx of rock is brewing a hellsbroth of unimaginable chaos and depredation. Vast strip-mining operations (a.k.a. “mountain-top removal”) for the extraction of coal are looming. And the UCP government is greasing the rails to see that it happens tout de suite – and I mean pronto.
Huge tracts of montaine and fescue grassland in a mighty swath from the Crowsnest all the way up to Kananaskis are under the auctioneer’s gavel for access to coking coal to be shipped out to steel factories in the Asia Pacific. The proponents for this work are Australian trans-national mining corporations who have variously been sanctioned by Australian courts and kicked out of Africa. These are the sort of operators who thought it would be a good idea to gouge a shipping channel through the Great Barrier Reef to hasten delivery of coal to China. They are rapacious and grimly efficient at what they do.
In order to facilitate this effort, the UCP government, spearheaded by Environment Minister Jason Nixon, hastily repealed the Coal Policy as established by Peter Lougheed 50 years ago to prevent exactly this sort of activity in the mountain foothills with their inestimably precious water towers and headwaters. Yes, if you enjoy selenium in your tea and a centuries-long toxic legacy, then this is the action for you.
So shake off the fog. Learn the facts. Check out http://www.savethemountains.ca.
This ain’t no dream.