April 23rd, 2024

It’s time to step up and protect our water

By Letter to the Editor on April 28, 2021.

Editor: The government of Peter Lougheed implemented the Coal Policy after substantial consultation and expert review over a period of four years. They decided to restrict coal development in the mountains.
Their conclusion was that the Eastern Slopes were vital to the economy and the well-being of human population because this region was the primary source of clean water for the province.
Minister Nixon assures Albertans [Government Will Continue to Protect Alberta’s Water, Lethbridge Herald, April 17, 2021] that the water is being protected and that the rules remain unchanged. This assurance is difficult to reconcile with the numbers.
The Oldman Allocation Order (Section 3) provides that an allocation may only be made for one of seven purposes (municipal, commercial, recreation, community water supply, agriculture, irrigation and industrial purposes). Allocations of water for industrial purposes must not exceed 150 acre-feet, per this order.
For context, let’s remember that this government negotiated with Australian coal mining corporations (seemingly outside of public inquiry) and rescinded the 1976 Coal Policy without notice and without consultation with Albertans. They then opened the Eastern Slopes to coal leases and immediately permitted temporary licenses for removal of water (outside of the allowed allocation) for exploration.
After massive expressions of public outrage, they reinstated the Coal Policy … well, except for the already leased lands and without addressing the Grassy Mountain and Tent Mountain coal mining projects already put in process.
There appears to be no cost-benefit or net-jobs analysis for this fixation on coal mining.
For the Grassy Mountain project alone, Benga Mining Limited has applied for the total 150 acre-feet allowed in the Oldman Allocation Order.
In addition, they have requested 100 acre-feet to be transferred permanently from a water license held by Devon Canada (diverted from the Crowsnest River) and 200 acre-feet transferred temporarily for 25 years from a license for municipal purposes held by Blairmore (diverted from York Creek).
This is for only the one mine. Where will the water come from for mining the leases that have already been sold? What will the impact be on all of these small creeks when large volumes of water are removed? Is this what Minister Nixon was saying?
The UCP government has promised Albertans a consultation process for a new Coal Policy.
The Terms of Reference for this consultation does not include water allocation. It also does not include a discussion on potential water contamination (like selenium, arsenic or calcite).
It does not include a discussion on parks and other recreational uses on public land, and it does not include a discussion on future economies based on tourism (assuming there are tourists interested in industrial landscapes).
The UCP government wants this process done by the end of the year – which is nothing like the robust process used by Premier Lougheed. Does this sound like protecting anything (except coal mining)?
So, you can see nothing has changed. The UCP government is driven to divert public attention using a faux-consultation while they continue to entrench coal mining along the Eastern Slopes.
There are no apparent plans for protecting the quality or quantity of water needed by Albertans and an agriculture-based economy.
All this cheap land and free water to mine coal for a 1 per cent royalty. And all this without a risk analysis for lost jobs and other costs in the downstream economy. It brings to mind the adage about selling one’s birthright for a mess of pottage.
It is time, Lethbridge, to step up and protect our water.
Braum Barber
Southern Alberta Group for the Environment

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Fedup Conservative

Well Said. There is certainly nothing conservative about any of these UCP clowns. Instead of trying to build on what Lougheed created for us they are deliberately destroying everything our conservative hero Peter Lougheed created for us.

Southern Albertan

Agreed. It beggars belief that this Kenney UCP government could betray us Albertans to this extent. In one of my communications to Energy Minister Savage, I asked, “How could you?” This is such a betrayal of their negative actions speaking louder than words to the point many of us cannot trust anything that the Kenney UCP, et al, say….let alone getting the impression that they could give a rats. Are they trying to do as much permanent damage to Alberta and Albertans before they lose the next election?

Les Elford

Well said Mr. Barber. Bravo! This is such a serious issue for Southern Alberta, and in fact all of Alberta. The Honorable Premier Peter Lougheed was in fact just that;….. honorable. Mr. Kenney and his team do not appear to have the ability to be the same. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men (Matthew 5:13).Likewise, let us as the salt of the earth remember to preserve what is good. In matters of justice and stewardship, Christians should be front and center to fight for what is right, what is safe, and what brings life to the world around us. Our homes, families, and communities should be solid and fresh, not rotting and fetid.
If we fail to protect and preserve, what good are we? If we fail to enhance the flavor of what’s around us, there’s nothing left for us “except to be thrown out” (so to speak).  Being Salty By Debbie Holloway
It appears Mr. Kenney and his UCP experiment has lost his wa , lost it’s purpose, and is trying it’s best to leave; our homes, families, and communities rotting and fetid; NOT solid and fresh.
Therefore as the above verse(Matthew 5:13) reminds us; there is nothing else to do, but to ensure the UCP party be thrown out and trampled. Never to exist again.


Yes, we can relate to Jason Kenney and his henchmen to a band of Vikings, raping and pillaging the land. Then leaving a burning shambles for the peasants to rebuild. To bad we are civilized and haven’t picked up our scythes and cycles and run him back to Ontario. We were out of minds to even import him and I even question the legality of a none resident being Premier.

Last edited 2 years ago by phlushie
Fedup Conservative

It reminds me of Don Getty telling me in 2003 that inviting Liberal Ralph Klein into the Conservative party was the dumbest thing he ever did and I certainly agreed. I had known Klein since the early 1960s and knew what a jerk he was. It was no surprise to me that his father and daughter both tried to help us vote him out.

The big question is how many Albertans lost their lives because of the disrespect they have shown our doctors and nurses, by refusing to listen to them? Trying to drive rural doctors out of the health care system proves how little Kenney cares about the well being of Albertans.


great letter – i’ll drink to that!


Great information that all Albertan’s need to be aware of. I’m forwarding the article to Jason Nixon and Jason Kenney which no doubt they will ignore. More rallies are needed to drive the point home to these thick headed politicians.