June 15th, 2024

‘Save My Mountains’ event voices opposition to coal mining

By Herald on June 16, 2021.

Herald photo By Tim Kalinowski Lethbridge singer songwriter Corb Lund speaks at the "Save My Mountains" rally at the Rocking P. Ranch with the proposed mountain, Cabin Ridge, directly in the background which would be targeted for mountaintop removal if coal mining goes ahead.

Tim Kalinowski – Lethbridge Herald

Lethbridge singer songwriter Corb Lund held a private “Tribute to the Mountains” concert at the Rocking P. Ranch on Wednesday to support the local “Save My Mountains” event hosted by Mac and Renie Blades who ranch directly under the proposed metallurgical coal mine at Cabin Ridge.

Lund said he wanted to do the concert to help preserve these lands in the headwaters of the Livingstone and Oldman Rivers that are “sacred” to him.

“I don’t mean to be hippie about it,” said Lund, “but this land is pretty sacred to me. We are a couple of hours south of here in the foothills, but it is the same story as these folks. Many generations on the land. And it is not just about landowners either. As you drove in, there are fishermen, guys hunt up here, hike, and camp, and all that stuff. (Mining) just doesn’t make any sense.

“It’s emotional because it is important to me,” he added, “and I don’t speak out publicly about a lot of issues. But this one is so big, and so egregious, it can’t be left alone.”

Lund said he began exploring the issue of coal mining in the Eastern Slopes with an open mind, and with no prior political bias, and came to the same conclusion a majority of Albertans have: destroying mountains and contaminating rivers millions depend on for a “dying” industry, with dubious short term benefits to Albertans, is not a trade off any government should be willing to make.

“There has been a really big outcry from people across the political spectrum,” he said. “And urban people, and rural people, and very importantly First Nations people because they are going to be affected by this a lot; especially in the drinking water department.

“It is good to see in these divided times there is something we can agree on, and that’s clean drinking water,” Lund stated.

Lund pulled no punches with the UCP government either in his statements to the media on Wednesday.

“In my opinion, they have dug their heels in, and they have been dragged kicking and screaming into a position where they have to address (public opposition),” he said. “I am not political. I don’t like political parties. I like individual people; that’s all I trust. But these guys (the UCP), in my opinion, have been disingenuous about this thing from the start. At no point have they said: ‘you know what? We screwed this up. We are sorry folks, we didn’t get the message. Now we have got the message, we are going to fix it.’ It’s not that. It’s every step of the way some kind of subterfuge and smoke and mirrors bullsh*t.

“People aren’t that stupid anymore. I think they are acting out of a 1992 playbook or something. People have the internet, people have Twitter. It is pretty clear to me that people, by and large, don’t want coal mines in the Rockies anymore.”

Mac Blades, whose grandfather Rod Macleay set up the current ranch directly under Cabin Ridge in 1921, thanked Lund and all those opposed to coal mining in Rockies for their unwavering encouragement and support as his family fights for its future.

“We’re hoping (our chances) are getting better all the time with all the public support,” he said. “The thing is this does not make sense for anything I can see except the Australian coal companies. Alberta’s not getting (anything) out of it, but a huge liability. All these mines behind us (at Cabin Ridge) here are one per cent royalty after their expenses. The other ones hold leases from before Alberta was a province so there are no royalties on those. So Alberta is virtually getting nothing out of this, and it is going to assume all the liabilities. So it just does not make sense.”

Lund was joined in providing music to the event by Malcolm John Maclean, a seasonal rangerider at the Waldron Grazing Co-op, who penned a special protest song called “If you ain’t got water, you ain’t got a damn” for the Blades family and all who are fighting to prevent coal mining on the Eastern Slopes.

“It takes courage to stand up and do that,” he said, “and I thought they should just have a song that speaks to them. It is not just the ranchers that live in this specific area, it’s everybody. It’s everybody’s water … Everybody has got a dog in the fight. Everybody who lives in Alberta, everybody that lives in Canada, has a dog in the fight. Because once you ruin the water, that’s it.

“The mountains are for everybody,” Maclean added. “Nobody owns the mountain. Cutting it down should be everybody’s decision.”

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Southern Albertan

Good on Corb Lund and the folks mentioned above! He is correct….the Kenney UCP screwed up and are not saying ‘sorry folks, we didn’t get the message and now we’re going to fix it.”
The UCP, et al, keep blathering on about how they trust the regulations and the industry. Well, we don’t. And reclamation would not bring back our mountains. There will be, much, to fix when after the 2023 election.
Question is: Are the Kenney UCP trying to do as much damage to Alberta , and Albertans, before they lose the next election? Do they realize, yet, that many of us who voted for them will not, vote for them again because of this sort of drastic bumbling?

Les Elford

I am so proud of these people who are standing strong for such a critical issue affecting all Albertan’s.
Perhaps I am being overly unfair or making very generalized statements. At the same time, it appears justified to do so; as the current democratically elected political party in Alberta has chosen NOT to listen to the people who elected them. Therefore, criticism, constructive criticism is warranted.
Unfortunately I am unable to state there is anything I can admit to being proud about regarding the UCP, and UCP constituency associations, and or the remaining minority of UCP supporters which may be remaining throughout the province. It’s not that I really have anything against these people personally. They may be good, upright citizens. I dare say they have without a doubt got it 100% wrong on this issue, are dug in and continued to expose their outdated rhetoric as factual and “good for us all … don’t you know”
I am afraid the UCP appear to consider themselves the only “Enlightened Ones who are the only one’s to have the answers. Sad… very sad… heartbreaking really. I recognize the economic dangers, uncertainties we are facing. In reality we were facing these same issues due to the damage and mistakes done, long before the pandemic tragically reared it’s ugly head. No, all of the blame for this cannot be placed on the miniscule time period the NDP were in power in Alberta. I would suggest that 40 years of PC government was a significant contributory factor to our financial circumstances we face today. I don’t understand how or why we would or could or should trust the “privileged old white men” who got us into this economic train wreck (especially the career politicians who have looked after themselves and their corporate welfare buddies so well; not their constituents) to be the ones capable of getting us out of this financial mess.
Alberta with all it’s resources; could have, no should be in much better financial shape than they are. Especially after 40 years of one party rule.
Please objectively inform yourself regarding the danger and destruction facing our beautiful province with the full approval of this current government and everyone of it’s members. Consider investigating and supporting these groups who are fighting fighting for No Coal Mining, and who are trying to protect; our mountains, forests our precious, limited, life sustaining water resources, our agricultural and livestock industries, our manufacturing sector, our safe drinking water supply, our fisheries and wildlife habitat.
Please consider investigating the great educational informational resources available from various groups; like the one mentioned in the above article, Livingstone Landowners Group, CPAW, Alberta Wilderness Association, and the Protect our Water – Alberta Beyond Coal organization. In addition; please consider watching; The award winning Canadian documentary; The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequelhttps://thenewcorporation.movie. This is an excellent documentary. It refers to Australian Coal Mining companies, and how they have gained control of the Australian government. In addition; it demonstrates how one Australian Indigenous tribe fought a Coal Mining Co and won.
If you feel compelled take a look at the UCP informational articles as well. I would just caution you to look these government articles; critically, cautiously and with a significant amount of skepticism i.e research the integrity and ethical decisions made by government regulatory bodies maybe starting with the Alberta Energy Commission.
Consider the orphan well fiasco, and how well our 40 years of PC government has dealt with this issue. (and I will reluctantly admit I too for may of those years voted PC in Alberta)
If you do so; you may want to take the time to do the same with some of our Federal government regulators like the CRTC and their recent back track on internet telecommunication prices after the Liberals promised to cut prices (which are some of the most expensive in the world) But, that is a totally different issue, and I’m rambling now.
Thank you for your time and attention.