May 22nd, 2024

Coal lease transfers in Category 2 lands sparks concern from CPAW

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman on October 9, 2021.

Earlier this week, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) southern Alberta chapter learned about three coal lease application transfers for three parcels of land in southwest Alberta that fall on contentious ‘Category 2’ lands, covering over 2,000 hectares.
This transfer happened despite promises from the provincial government on pausing coal development activities in the southwest region of the province.
The applications were formerly held by Peace River Coal Corporation and were transferred to Cabin Ridge Project Limited, a company that currently holds several adjacent freehold coal agreements in the area.
“We are disappointed to see that neither the government nor coal companies are respecting the ongoing public engagement process surrounding the future of coal development in Alberta.
“They are behaving like everything can carry on ‘business as usual’ when Albertans have told them time and time again over the last year that ‘business as usual’ is not working,” said Katie Morrison, Conservation Director of CPAWS Southern Alberta, in a recent release.
The change comes at a time when the ministerially-appointed Coal Policy Engagement Committee has been conducting targeted stakeholder engagement sessions, and the CPAWS staff noticed the changes in a routine review of coal applications and leases between July and August 2021.
“This change leads us to believe that there are behind the scenes activities occurring between the coal companies and the Government of Alberta at a time when both parties should be respectful of that fact that there is ongoing dialogue with Albertans about the future of coal in the province,” continued Morrison.
“It leaves us with serious doubts about whether the government or coal companies are engaging in this process in good faith.”
The ministerially-appointed Coal Policy Engagement Committee panel is set to hand their recommendations regarding a potential new Provincial Coal Policy to Minister of Energy, Sonya Savage, in November 2021.
CPAWS is encouraging Albertans to ask the Government of Alberta to commit to pausing further coal activity and exploration until full public and Indigenous consultations can be conducted and a new policy is in place.
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