June 20th, 2024

NDP say legislation needed to preserve coal policy

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on March 8, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The NDP believes the Alberta government has left the door open to coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.
Kathleen Ganley, the NDP energy critic, told media on Friday the ministerial order issued by Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage isn’t enough.
On Friday, the UCP announced it is expanding and reviewing mining restrictions in response to public outcry as well as two reports that were written after consultations with the public.
Savage said she’ll keep in place a ministerial order that blocks coal exploration and development in the most sensitive areas of the Rockies.
This order has been extended and will now block coal development on all land covered originally under the 1976 coal policy. This block will be in effect until land use plans are finished.
Ganley said NDP leader Rachel Notley was to introduce a bill Monday in the legislature calling for the ban to be made into legislation.
The order can be rescinded “in secret with a stroke of the minister’s pen and we’ve seen it before. That’s how we got here,” said Ganley from Calgary.
“The UCP already tried to lift the ban when they thought no one was looking. The minister could easily try this again by unilaterally rescinding the policy and the ministerial order,” Ganley added.
“We already saw the UCP can’t be trusted on this file and they definitely can’t be trusted to manage it going forward. The premier has even described himself as an unapologetic supporter of the coal mining industry. That’s why we need legislation so future changes would have to come to the legislature where Albertans can see them.
“We need to enshrine a ban in legislation,” added Ganley.
If UCP MLAs want to stop mining in the Rockies, they’ll pass the legislation Notley is introducing, she said.
“What the UCP brought forward today is a delay, not a ban. This leaves the door open to future coal mining and its further proof that Albertans can’t trust the UCP, Ganley stated.
A five-member panel conducted 67 sessions about coal mining with dozens of groups and received 176 submissions.

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Southern Albertan

It appears that legislation to preserve the coal policy may become reality if/when the AB NDP win the election next year with a majority. Or sooner? What might happen if the UCP, themselves, get rid of Kenney on April 9th?